The news of Hale County's largest employer shutting down came as a shock to the employees and to the City of Plainview, who had no idea the Cargill beef processing plant would close its doors on February 1st.
This specific plant brings millions of dollars to Plainview's economy, gives several hundred thousand dollars to charities and employs over 2,000 people. Those employees, like Steve Montez, are now left wondering what's next.
"It's going to be tough, real tough. There were some people pretty upset," Montez said. "The past two weeks have been really slow. The main issue they told us was the weather and just not enough cattle for us and the plant in Friona…so we were chosen to be the one to close."
Montez had to break the news to his wife and two young children that in two weeks he would not have a job. As he was the only person working in the household, Montez says many uncertainties are weighing heavily on his mind. "I guess we just see where we go from here, and try not to lose the house or try to see how we'll keep making the payments," Montez said.
Cargill will continue to pay its thousands of employees for 60 days, and some will be able to transfer to the plant in Friona or other states. There will also be a few job fairs within the next few weeks to help get them back on their feet but Montez is worried because how many people will be competing for jobs.
"All those applications are going to be flooding around the area, and you're going to be lucky to get picked," he said.
Montez says there is no other employer in the area that will pay as much Cargill and he will look to transfer even though he doesn't want to leave Plainview.
"You can throw your hands in the air and just say you're at a loss but you can't do that. You have to keep moving forward. It's the only thing you can do I guess," Montez said.
PRESS RELEASE: Cargill to idle Plainview beef processing plant
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