Windom, Minnesota, pictured May 5, 2023, is in the southwestern part of the state. (Madison McVan/Investigate Midwest)

A Minnesota pork processing plant employed 500 workers on temporary work visas in 2022, more than any other meatpacking plant that year, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor. 

HyLife Foods sponsored hundreds of visas to fill jobs at its plant in the small town of Windom, Minnesota. The company used the federal H-2B visa program to hire the foreign workers.

The second-biggest employer of H-2B workers in the meatpacking industry last year was Clemens Food Group in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, which employed 250 people on the visas. No other meatpacking plants employed more than 100 H-2B workers. 

HyLife Foods declared bankruptcy in late April, and expects to lay off its entire workforce by early June if the plant isn’t sold, according to a letter the company sent the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. HyLife told Investigate Midwest on May 10 that an end date had not been set. 

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If the plant closes, the H-2B visas will expire and the company will have 10 days to return the workers to their home countries. 

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Madison McVan is from Pflugerville, Texas, where she discovered her love for journalism while working at her high school newspaper. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 2020 with degrees...