Smithfield Packing Company will shift hog processing operations from its Smithfield South facility (formerly Smithfield Packing) to its Smithfield North (formerly Gwaltney) and Tar Heel, North Carolina, facilities on or about Oct. 28. This will allow the company to convert the vacant plant space to value-added fresh pork and processed meats production in 2006. 

Smithfield Packing estimates the one-time cost of discontinuing hog processing operations will be $8-10 million. Last year the Smithfield East Coast complex (Smithfield Packing and Gwaltney facilities in Smithfield, Va., and the Tar Heel plant in North Carolina) processed 11.6 million hogs. Discontinuing the processing operations will reduce the company’s annual hog processing rate by approximately 500,000 hogs.

"By consolidating hog processing from three to two facilities, we will significantly improve our operating efficiency and utilization of assets," says Jere T. Null, senior vice president of Smithfield Packing. "We have plans to produce value-added pork products in the vacated space, enabling us to meet our customers' continuing needs."

The company plans to spend more than $15 million to install pre-cooked microwave bacon lines. It also will invest $10 million to modernize hog processing operations at the Smithfield North facility and another $5 million in a new office building to meet the company’s current and future needs.

Smithfield Foods