DAKOTA DUNES, S.D. (KCAU) — Community leaders react as Tyson Foods announced plans to relocate its Dakota Dunes corporate office to its world headquarters in Arkansas.

The news that the metro’s largest employer is transferring local operations came as a surprise to community leaders like Chris McGowan, president of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce, as well as the 500 or so workers who call the Dakota Dunes office home.

KCAU 9 spoke with community members about the corporate shakeup. In addition to relocating the Dakota Dunes employees to Arkansas, Tyson Foods also plans to bring team members from its other corporate offices in Chicago and Downers Grove. Tyson has staffed a corporate office in Dakota Dunes since 2001. The company ranks as the world’s second-largest processor of chicken, beef, and pork.

In a written statment, Tyson CEO Donny King said the move will foster closer collaboration, enhance team member agility and enable faster decision making for the company. Additionally King said bringing the corporate team members and businesses together under one roof unlocks greater opportunities to share perspectives and ideas, while also enabling us to act quickly to solve problems and provide the innovative products solutions that our customers deserve and value.

In Siouxland, the news came as a surprise to many people including Jeff Dooley, manager of Dakota Dunes Community Improvement District. He said while relocation is common among large corporations, this is still a serious blow to the Siouxland economy and his heart goes out to all the employees.

“Some of them will have to leave no doubt, but again I think there’s a lot of opportunity here. Our thoughts are with the employees and anything we can do to help them find employment or find opportunities, we’d be happy to help,” said Dooley.

Employees will begin relocating to headquarters in phases starting in 2023, but there’s no timeline for when employees will have to decide whether to relocate or find a new job to stay in Siouxland.

Like the roughly 500 team members at the dakota dunes office, the local business community learned of Tyson’s relocation plan early Wednesday morning. Tyson has been a leading community partner dating back to 2001 when the Arkansas meat packing giant bought Iowa Beef Processors (IBP).

“This is a company that has a very long track record of presence and employment in our siouxland community. It’s also a company that has enjoyed the support of our community and we’d like to see that relationship continued,” said McGowan.

More than 4,000 employees who work the Tyson Foods processing plant in Dakota City, Neb. will not be affected by the announcement.

Tyson spokesperson, Derek Burleson, said the company is offering relocation assistance to team members who choose to relocate to Northwest Arkansas and severance will be determined on an individual basis for those who choose not to relocate.

As a multi-billion dollar company, Tyson Foods not only supports the local economy, but local non-profits as well. Tyson Fresh Meats has contributed $4.9 million to just the United Way of Siouxland over the last 10 years. That includes $550,000 during United Way’s campaign in 2021.

It’s not clear how the corporate office consolidation will change Tyson’s charitable contributions to local organizations.