Windom, HyLife leaders hope to avoid layoffs by finding a buyer for the hog processing facility
“Their intention is to sell the facility and they’re actively looking for buyers,” Nasby said. “The city is hopeful there can be a smooth transition without too much disruption."
WINDOM — Leaders with HyLife Foods Windom, LLC, a hog processing facility, say they will continue operations as usual, despite filing a notice on Monday with Minnesota’s rapid response coordinator through the Department of Employment and Economic Development detailing potential job losses if the company doesn’t find a buyer soon.
The notice was given in compliance with the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, and stated that employment could end for workers between April 17 and May 1 or between May 19 and June 2.
Tom Seigfreid, chief financial officer and senior director of business operations for HyLife, stated in the notice that current ownership purchased the business in 2020 with a goal of turning operations around. Investments were made in plant improvements and the community — HyLife contracted with a developer to build new housing in Windom, which is still under construction — but Seigfreid stated in the WARN notification that the company also faced challenges.
“Unfortunately, despite these efforts, we have had to combat a number of challenges, including inflationary pressures, high grain costs, foreign exchange rates and the plant’s operational losses,” Seigfreid said. “For some time now, the company has been exploring several strategic options that would have enabled it to continue go-forward operations despite these financial challenges. Unfortunately, so far, these efforts have not been successful.”
While HyLife, based in Manitoba, Canada, continues to search for a buyer for the Windom operation, Seigfreid said there’s a possibility they won’t be able to find a buyer or, if a sale takes place, the buyer will not extend employment offers to some or potentially all employees at the plant.
For that reason, the WARN notice was given. Seigfreid also stated the notice wasn’t issued earlier because the company was seeking additional financing to continue operations and “reasonably believed that giving WARN notices would have precluded our ability to secure such capital or financing, resulting in a full shutdown of the facility.”
HyLife Windom has approximately 1,000 employees, according to Stacey Ashley, public relations and communications manager for HyLife.
“On April 10, 2023, we shared that our leadership has been working to sell this facility to ensure that the business continues and is properly capitalized for the future,” said HyLife President and Chief Executive Officer Grant Lazaruk. “This means we intend to continue producing high-quality products while this sales process plays out. We want to sincerely thank our team. This is an extremely hard week and we are unquestionably sad.”
Windom City Administrator Steve Nasby said he received notification from HyLife after hours on Monday about the WARN notification. He met with leaders from HyLife on Wednesday.
“Their intention is to sell the facility and they’re actively looking for buyers,” Nasby said. “The city is hopeful there can be a smooth transition without too much disruption.
“With such a large workforce, the impact on the community is significant,” he added. “We’re certainly optimistic a new buyer will come along. It’s a very good facility out there; it’s new with a good workforce. I would think it would be a good turnkey operation for someone.”