In this file:


·         Tyson Bets on Robots to Fight Meat Industry Worker Shortage

As global demand for meat rises, producers have had a hard time attracting enough workers to keep up with rising consumption.


·         Media Release: New Facility to Boost Tyson Foods’ Automation and Robotics Efforts

Robotics, automation and vision technology to help make jobs easier, more efficient


·         Tyson Sued For Pretending It’s a Responsible, Ethical Company

Two groups are angry at Tyson for its feints towards positive environmental practices.




Tyson Bets on Robots to Fight Meat Industry Worker Shortage

As global demand for meat rises, producers have had a hard time attracting enough workers to keep up with rising consumption.


By Lydia Mulvany, Bloomberg

via Industry Week - Aug 08, 2019


When you visit a meat plant, humans are completing tasks like stacking pallets and packing chicken drumsticks. But Tyson Foods Inc. thinks robots can do it all.


The U.S. meat giant is betting that automation and robotics can alleviate a worker shortage that has long hampered the industry. The company has built the 26,000-square-foot, multi-million dollar Tyson Manufacturing Automation Center near its headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas. At the facility, engineers will apply the latest advances in machine learning to meat manufacturing, with the goal of eventually eliminating jobs that can be physically demanding, highly repetitive and at times dangerous.


As global demand for meat rises, producers have had a hard time attracting enough workers to keep up with rising consumption. Some in the industry have pointed to Donald Trump’s tough stand on immigration as exacerbating the U.S. labor shortages. Producers including Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. and Cargill Inc. have boosted pay in some cases, and offered other benefits like new housing, health care and transportation incentives.


“We’ve got to get out in front of this,” said Marty Linn, the director of the new center who, before coming to Tyson, spent 30 years at General Motors Co. “We’re not going to outsource” these tasks, “we’re going to produce them here in this country, so automation is a key strategy for us going forward,” he said.


Advances in technology are making it possible to make strides in automation. For example, machine vision is now accurate and speedy enough to apply to meat production, which is highly labor intensive compared with other food manufacturing. Also, a lot of washing and sanitizing occurs in a meat-packing plant, which has traditionally been difficult on robots, but now the machines are built to withstand that.


At Tyson’s new facility, a series of laboratories showcase different types of robots. Mechanical arms in glass cases use smart cameras to sort colorful objects or stack items. In another room, a larger machine called a palletizer performs stacking tasks. There’s also a training space.


Many of the types of robots that a meatpacking plant would need are not on the market currently, so the company needs to innovate and collaborate with partners to create them, said Doug Foreman, a director in engineering at Tyson. But the technology is ready.


The processing capabilities of cameras are “so advanced even from a few years ago,” Foreman said. “Processing-speed-wise, it’s there now for us.”


A shortage of labor is one of the biggest impediments to growth in the meat industry, said Will Sawyer, an animal protein economist at the $138 billion rural lender CoBank ACB.


“If there was enough available labor, we would see more protein on the market, especially on the pork and poultry side,” he said.


While the U.S. labor supply as a whole is at historically low levels, the problem is more acute in meat production. The industry has struggled with a reputation of difficult working conditions since the days of Upton Sinclair, the American author who wrote of abuses in his 1906 novel, “The Jungle.” Tyson just this month had a fatal accident involving pallets in its Amarillo plant. The industry often relies on immigrant workers to fill jobs that middle-class Americans shun...


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New Facility to Boost Tyson Foods’ Automation and Robotics Efforts

Robotics, automation and vision technology to help make jobs easier, more efficient


Source: Tyson Foods, Inc.

via Globe Newswire - August 08, 2019


SPRINGDALE, Ark., Aug. 08, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN) has created a new, state-of-the-art facility designed to help the company develop more automation and robotics for its food production plants.


The Tyson Manufacturing Automation Center (TMAC) officially opened in downtown Springdale today. The center provides space for the development of new manufacturing solutions and collaboration with the company’s information technology team and equipment suppliers. It also serves as a location for team member training on new technology.


The investment is part of Tyson Foods’ focus on continuous improvement. The development of new technology and processes will help improve efficiency and workplace safety.


“Innovation has been a fundamental part of our success for almost 85 years,” said Noel White, President and CEO, Tyson Foods. “This facility represents our commitment to creating the next generation of manufacturing solutions through advanced automation, robotics and machine learning.”


The two-story, 26,000-square-foot facility features four main areas: A machine vision technology lab, a lab that simulates a food production environment, training classrooms and space for team members to train in automation and robotics technology.


The center is in a building that was previously used to service vehicles for the company’s poultry business. Reclaimed wood from the company’s original headquarters was used in the renovated building.


The company has invested more than $215 million in automation and robotics in the last five years.


“The key to TMAC’s success will be the collaboration of world-class talent bringing expertise from all aspects of processing,” said Doug Foreman, director, engineering, Tyson Foods. “Their skills and the resources within this facility will allow us to create solutions that will make a difference in the lives of our team members and create value for our business.”


Foreman will manage the day-to-day operations of TMAC with assistance from Marty Linn, who spent 34 years at General Motors, 18 of those as the principal engineer of robotics and the manager of advanced automation. Learn more about Linn at the Feed blog on


“The creation of the Tyson Manufacturing Automation Center is a key enabler for the company to collaborate and bridge the suppliers in the automation industry with their production facilities,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of the Association for Advancing Automation. “Tyson Foods’ drive to implement robotic and machine vision automation technologies will help them be more competitive on a global scale, provide a safer environment for their team members, and more efficiently provide safe, quality food to people around the world.”


In addition, the company will engage with local schools participating in robotics competitions to further drive awareness and the importance of educational opportunities in areas of science, technology, engineering and math.


TMAC’s first collaboration is with Springdale’s Don Tyson School of Innovation, a technology-rich STEM school. It embraces flexible and blended learning, allowing for a fast-paced and project-based learning environment that promotes student success.


The Don Tyson School of Innovation’s robotics team will travel to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, October 24-27 to compete in the FIRST Global Challenge. The annual, international robotics Olympics-style event brings together youth from around the world to share in their passion for STEM.


The company announced a $15,000 gift to help offset travel costs and ensure the entire team can participate in the competition.


TMAC marks the third major development project Tyson Foods has completed in downtown Springdale since 2015. In July 2016, the company opened a 28,000-square-foot building at 516 E. Emma Ave. named the Tyson Foods JTL Building. The facility houses the Tyson Company Store and approximately 75 team members. In November 2017, the company opened a 56,000-square-foot building at 319 E. Emma Ave. named Tyson Emma, which houses approximately 300 Information Technology team members.


In 2015, the company presented a $1 million check to the Downtown Springdale Alliance to support the organization’s effort to develop infrastructure and greenspace in the area. 


Tyson Foods employs more than 6,000 people in Springdale and more than 23,000 people in Arkansas, and contracts with more than 1,800 independent family farmers in the state, who grow chickens for its operations. The company also purchases cattle, pigs, grain, diesel and other utilities in Arkansas and estimates its annual statewide economic impact at nearly $2 billion.


Photos of TMAC are available here.

About Tyson Foods, Inc.


Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN) is one of the world’s largest food companies and a recognized leader in protein. Founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson and grown under three generations of family leadership, the company has a broad portfolio of products and brands like Tyson®, Jimmy Dean®, Hillshire Farm®, Ball Park®, Wright®, Aidells®, ibp® and State Fair®. Tyson Foods innovates continually to make protein more sustainable, tailor food for everywhere it’s available and raise the world’s expectations for how much good food can do. Headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas, the company had 121,000 team members at September 29, 2018. Through its Core Values, Tyson Foods strives to operate with integrity, create value for its shareholders, customers, communities and team members and serve as a steward of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it. Visit


Media Contact:

Derek Burleson, 479-290-6466,


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Tyson Sued For Pretending It’s a Responsible, Ethical Company

Two groups are angry at Tyson for its feints towards positive environmental practices.


Dan Nosowitz, Modern Farmer

Aug 09, 2019


Labeling of food is a minefield; the FDA has many rules about what companies can and cannot say on their packaging and in their advertising, but there are combine-sized holes through which companies can drive.


We’ve written before about the word “natural” or “all-natural,” which can be printed on packages by anyone, at any time, for any reason or for no reason at all. That’s just one of the many ways that companies, especially agribusiness giants, can make themselves appear more in line with progressive food ideals than they actually are. And now, Tyson is getting sued for it.


As Americans become steadily more conscious of where our food comes from, there’s increasing pressure on producers to cater to those desires. Sometimes, that pressure can effect actual change; sometimes, companies would prefer to keep their costs where they’ve always been, and just adopt the veneer of respectability. A chicken company, for example, might advertise that it’s “hormone-free” or “raised without hormones.” This is perfectly legal to print, but highly misleading. After all, it is completely illegal for any chicken, organic or conventional, to be given hormones.


The Organic Consumers Association and Food & Water Watch, two activist groups, have joined together to file a lawsuit against Tyson Foods, alleging misleading tactics. They do not seek monetary restitution, instead asking for all offending language to be removed from packaging and advertising materials.


These groups find issue with several of the ways Tyson markets itself. In one video, a Tyson representative calls the company “stewards of the land.” Tyson’s website uses the phrases...