Tyson Foods is asking its far-flung corporate employees to move to Arkansas and work at its Springdale headquarters, a site that will be expanded and remodeled to house them, the company said Wednesday.
The meat giant is relocating its corporate staff of about 1,000 from Chicago and Downers Grove, Ill. as well as Dakota Dunes, S.D. to its home base. The relocation will be done in phases starting early next year. Tyson Foods said the migration will take about a year.
There are no layoffs associated with the move, a company spokesman said Wednesday. Employees will be offered relocation assistance. Severance packages will be available on an individual basis for those who choose not to relocate.
"Bringing our talented corporate team members and businesses together under one roof unlocks greater opportunities to share perspectives and ideas, while also enabling us to act quickly to solve problems and provide the innovative products solutions that our customers deserve and value," Donnie King, Tyson Food's president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
Tyson Foods has operated its beef segment out of the Dakota Dunes region since it purchased IBP in 2001. The company's Illinois operation housed the prepared foods segment after Tyson Foods acquired Hillshire Brands in 2014.
The move comes as Tyson Foods has struggled with tighter profit margins and reduced sales volume in recent quarters.
Tyson shares closed Wednesday at $66.64, down 82 cents, or about 1%, on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares have traded as low as $65.52 and as high as $100.72 over the past year.
The company last month shifted some key executives into new positions. Stewart Glendinning will become group president prepared foods after Noelle O'Mara, the former group president prepared foods, left the company. John R. Tyson, son of Chairman John H. Tyson, will serve as the new chief financial officer and Amy Tu will take the post of president, international and chief administrative office.
Tyson Food's corporate headquarters on W. Don Tyson Parkway in Springdale houses about 1,700 workers. The site will be expanded both inside and outside and parts of the headquarters will be remodeled in a years-long project, according to the company.
On Wednesday, Mervin Jebaraj, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas said the additional folks moving to the area to work for Tyson puts continued pressure on the area's affordable housing options. He said it spotlights the need for area cities to come up with workable plans to address housing needs.
How much pressure the workers moving to the area brings on the market remains to be seen, he said. The area sees about 12,000 newcomers a year, Jebaraj said, so all the Tyson workers combined make up about one month of typical growth. If the influx is over an extended period of time, it won't have as much impact compared to a shorter time frame.
According to the most recent Skyline Report, residential home prices were up nearly 27% in the first half of 2022 compared to the same period last year. The average sale price for a home in Benton, Washington and Madison counties for the January through June period was $385,821 according to the Multiple Listing Services database, up dramatically from $304,235 a year ago.
"At first, I think the influx places more pressure on the rental market, while people look for homes or wait to see what happens with mortgage rates -- home prices," Jebaraj said.
For the first half of the year, the multifamily vacancy rate for apartments was 2.3% with many apartment complexes working with waiting lists since demand is so high. One-bedroom apartments are in highest demand with a vacancy rate of 0.8% for the period with two-bedroom vacancy rates at 1%.
Low availability is also pushing up apartment lease rates. The average monthly lease price for the January through July period was $860.87, up 12% from $768.48 last year. Rates are up 61% when compared to 10 years ago when they stood at $533.88.
According to the report, over the last decade the total square feet of multifamily housing available in the two county area has gone up from 18.8 million in the first half of 2012 to 35.5 million in the first half of 2022, a gain of 88%.
Founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson, Tyson Foods employs 137,000 workers, according to it's 2021 annual report.