The National Pork Producers Council praised the permit approval allowing for an annual one million head increase in processing capacity in North Carolina.

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources announced approval last week of a renewed National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for the  Tarheel, N.C.-based Smithfield Packing Company processing plant that will allow for an additional slaughter capacity by 500,000 head each year for the first two years of the permit for a total increase of one million head per year. In addition, the permit allows for increased environmental management, monitoring and reporting at the Tarheel plant.

“Pork producers around the country will benefit from the increase in processing capacity which will ultimately result in higher hog prices for producers who have been experiencing  tough economic conditions over the last couple of months,” says NPPC President Dave Roper, a pork producer from Kimberly, Idaho.

According to Roper, an increase in processing capacity at the Tarheel, N.C. processing plant will benefit pork producers around the country by boosting hog prices as much as $1 per hundredweight. “The one million head increase in slaughter capacity over the next two years represents a one percent increase in national slaughter capacity and will amount to an additional $250 million annually for our nation’s pork producers,” he says.

One additional positive impact of the expansion of slaughter capacity at the Tarheel plant includes the reduction of North Carolina pork producers’ transportation costs. “With costs currently totaling from $3 to $8 per head to ship hogs to alternative slaughter plants, it is estimated that keeping one million more animals in North Carolina will save pork producers $4 to $6 million per year in freight costs,” notes Roper. “These positive impacts will be felt in the pork industry for a long time.”

National Pork Producers Council