Food producer Cargill announced today that drought-induced diminishing cattle supply has forced the company to idle a beef processing facility in Texas, laying off 2,000 workers for the foreseeable future .

With $134 billion in sales last year and 140,000 employees, Cargill is currently America's largest private company . Nevertheless, with U.S. cattle herds at their lowest level since 1952, and rising feed costs, the corporation decided to close its Texas facility to guarantee more consistent operations at its other nearby plants in Texas, Colorado, and Kansas. The company's four regional, and two Canadian, beef plants remain unaffected .

Cargill described the decision as "difficult and painful ," and the company will provide financial support and employment assistance to all affected employees .

In a statement released today, Cargill Beef President John Keating is quoted as saying:

Our long-term commitment to U.S. beef production is unwavering. Over the past 10 years we've invested more than $766 million in our U.S. beef plants to ensure they remain best in class in the industry.

Looking ahead, Cargill remains optimistic about domestic and international beef demand, and that the herd-shrinking drought will soon be over .

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