JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey wants Tyson Foods to sell two plants at risk of closing in southern Missouri.

Bailey directed a letter to Tyson Foods CEO Donnie D. King on Tuesday in an effort to prevent plants in small Missouri communities, Dexter and Noel, from closing.

Tyson announced plans to close both Missouri plants and two others in August, though the exact timetable for that remains unclear.

In his latter, Bailey cites “serious concern” for working-class families in southern Missouri.

“These plants are critical to local communities,” said Bailey in the letter. “Closure will have ripple effects that will harm more than just the individuals who would lose their factory jobs.

“How can a restaurant or grocery store in a town of 2,000 people expect to stay open when 1,500 people lose their jobs? What will chicken farmers and grain growers do if the plants they have long relied on close?”

The Dexter plant has been active in the poultry production industry since the 1890s. The Noel plant employs around 1,500 people, a substantial number for a community with just around 2,000 residents.

“It is thus paramount that you do everything in your power to either keep the facilities open or sell to any interested party, including a competitor,” said Bailey.

A recent Tyson report shows an income loss of $417 million, or $1.07 per share, for July 2023. Around that same time last year, the company reported an income gain of $750 million, or $2.07 per share.