Cargill temporarily stops production at Big Lake, Minnesota facility, employees laid off

Cargill says it is temporarily idling its Big Lake, Minnesota facility and laying off employees there due to shifting demands of the foodservice industry.

The company confirmed to FOX 9 Monday that its Big Lake facility is stopping production. Cargill said that reductions in services like restaurants, cafeterias and stadium vendors and increased demands in retail and grocery stores has shifted the company’s approach to food production temporarily.

According to Big Lake Mayor Mike Wallen, the plant is a top-three employer for the city.

“Its not just people being idled,” said Wallen.“It’s the dollars that Cargill generates on their water and sewer usage that we have budgeted. Its tax dollars that we use.”

The Big Lake location produces egg products for businesses like McDonald's, Jimmy Dean and Sarah Lee. 

The decision to lay off employees, the company said, makes them eligible for unemployment while keeping their Cargill health benefits for up to six months. Many employees will also receive an additional two weeks’ pay.

“We are hopeful this will be a short-term move and will work with our employees regularly on a return-to-work timeline,” said the company in a statement Monday.

“I really do hope that all those people who sit in St. Paul understand what this does to regular main street Minnesota.”

Jon Nash, the leader of Cargill Protein-North America, released the following statement:

We care about our people. Our focus is on getting our employees back to work as soon as safely possible. Every person affected is a valued member of our team. Our employees are working hard to keep food on tables in local communities. 

Cargill provides an essential service to the world. While some locations are closed, our work does not stop. We’re working with customers every day to keep protein on shelves.