Tyson loses arbitration bid

(February 19, 2004) — (Little Rock, Arkansas-AP) -- A lawsuit by hog farmers in Oklahoma and Arkansas against Tyson Foods is heading back to circuit court, where the farmers want it. Tyson wants the case heard by an arbitrator, but the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled today that the lawsuit belongs in circuit court. The farmers sued Tyson in circuit court in Arkansas after the Arkansas-based company closed its swine operations in 2002 and ended contracts with 132 hog producers in eastern Oklahoma and in Arkansas. The farmers say Tyson acted in bad faith because it encouraged them to invest up to one million dollars in their farms before shutting down the hog operation. Tyson says the restructuring is intended to cut losses.