SPRINGDALE, Ark. -

Tyson Foods Inc. says it's closing three U.S. plants, employing a total 950 workers, which have struggled financially as the company's product needs have changed.
    
Tyson, the biggest U.S. meat processor, announced Friday the planned closures of the plants in Cherokee, Iowa; Buffalo, New York; and Santa Teresa, New Mexico. The company said the action will enable it to move some of the operations and equipment at the plants to other, more cost-efficient Tyson plants.
    
The Cherokee plan will close Sept. 27, and the Buffalo and Santa Teresa plants are expected to shut down in the first half of 2015.

The decision will affect approximately 950 people, including 450 at Cherokee, 300 at Buffalo and 200 at Santa Teresa.

The affected workers will be encouraged to apply for job openings elsewhere in the company and will be invited to job fairs organized by the company, Tyson said.

A statement on Tyson Food's website said, "The planned closures are due to a combination of factors including changing product needs, the age of the Cherokee facility and prohibitive cost of its renovation and the distance of the Buffalo and Santa Teresa plants from their raw material supply base in the Midwest. In addition, the closings will allow the company to shift some of the production and equipment to other, more cost-efficient Tyson Foods locations."

All three plants have been part of Tyson Foods since 2001, when the company acquired IBP, inc.

Santa Teresa makes a variety of cooked products including dinner meats, diced ham and roast beef. The facility was built by John’s Brothers and opened in the spring of 1982. It became part of IBP in 1994.