A Casualty of the Drought

I was surprised to learn that Cargill is shutting down one of its large beef processing plants (it processed over 4,500 head daily) in Plainview, TX.  I grew up about 15 miles from this plant (and about 2 miles from a large feedlot that supplies it).  Here is one source on the causes and impacts of the closure:

Cargill Meat Solutions said declining livestock supplies at the plant because of years of drought would force it to shut down operations, putting 2,000 workers out of a job.

I suspect there are those who would rejoice in the closure of a plant that slaughters cattle.  And, I suppose, they have some cause for celebration.  But, I think about all those families who lost jobs (Plainview has about 8,000 jobs, so this plant closure represents about 1/4 of the total work force), the farmers whose cattle now wont fetch as high a price, and the cattle who have to travel farther to reach another packing plant.  

Those aren't reasons to keep the plant open.  Cargill, after all, has to turn a profit to stay in business.  But, it does show how the effects of a drought and high feed prices (also partially due to ethanol policies) have undesirable effects that trickle down and even hit close to home.