On U.S. 287 and 13 miles north of Dumas, Cactus began as a company town to produce ammunition for World War II. The Cactus Ordnance Works, one of the largest plants in the country, was established in 1942 as a government project by the Chemical Construction Company. In 1944, after the war, the Shell Union Oil and Gas Corporation began manufacturing aviation gasoline at the plant. From 1946–1948, the Emergency Export Corporation converted the plant to the production of ammonia. Phillips Chemical, a division of Phillips Petroleum Company, then assumed management.
Today, Swift and Company operates a modern processing beef facility in Cactus. The plant produces high-quality, grain-fed beef products.
The annual Diez y Seis de Septiembre celebration draws thousands of visitors to Cactus.
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