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JBS To Resume Operations At Greeley Beef Plant After Cyberattack

Esther Honig / KUNC

Updated 6/2/2021 at 9:12 a.m.

JBS has made “significant progress” addressing a ransomware attack that shut down many of its meat processing plants, including the one in Greeley that employs over 3,000 workers.

The majority of its beef, pork and poultry plants will be back online Wednesday, the company’s CEO said in a statement.

“Our systems are coming back online and we are not sparing any resources to fight this threat,” said Andre Nogueira. “We have cybersecurity plans in place to address these types of issues and we are successfully executing those plans.”

The attack raised concerns that disruptions at JBS — one of the world’s largest meat processors — would throw the supply chain off. But the company has been able to continue shipping some products from “nearly all” of its facilities, according to the statement.

The company says it continues to investigate the attack and coordinate its response with the federal government.

The original story continues below.

At least 3,000 workers at JBS’ Greeley beef plant had their shifts cancelled on Tuesday as the company responded to a ransomware attack, according to a union spokeswoman.

UFCW Local 7 said in a statement it had no further information about the plant’s reopening plans or how long the closure would last.

The cyberattack, which took place on Sunday, wiped out some of the main servers for JBS’ North American and Australian IT systems, according to a company statement. JBS has also paused operations at plants in Australia and Texas, sparking supply concerns among U.S. beef buyers.

“The company is not aware of any evidence at this time that any customer, supplier or employee data has been compromised,” JBS said. “Resolution of the incident will take time, which may delay certain transactions with customers and suppliers.”

JBS is one of the world’s largest meat processing companies, according to its website. Its facilities account for about 23% of the country’s cattle slaughter capacity, according to the Steiner Consulting Group.

“We think this is a major issue but much will depend on how long the disruption persists,” the group said in its Daily Livestock Report. “Even one day of disruption will significantly impact the beef market and wholesale beef prices.”

It’s unclear how long the pause will last. A similar ransomware attack last month shut down part of the Colonial Pipeline in the eastern U.S., leading to panic buying and widespread gasoline shortages in the region.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Tuesday the attack on JBS likely came from a criminal organization based in Russia. The FBI is also investigating the incident.

“We’re assessing any impacts on supply,” said Jean-Pierre. “The White House is engaging directly with the Russian government on this matter and delivering the message that responsible states do not harbor ransomware criminals.”

JBS did not return a request for comment on Tuesday.

This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.

I cover a wide range of issues within Colorado’s dynamic economy including energy, labor, housing, beer, marijuana, elections and other general assignment stories.