Returns from expanded pork production more than offset Smithfield Foods’ lower earnings from meat processing in its second quarter of fiscal 2001 that ended Oct. 29. The company released its earnings report earlier this week.

Compared with a year before, profit from processing was down 27 percent while profit from pork production went from $13 million to $73 million. The number of hogs slaughtered from Smithfield’s farms was up sharply due to acquiring Murphy Family Farms in January 2000.

The company’s total net quarterly earnings were $44.6 million compared with $22.2 million in the same period a year before.

Joe Luter, head of Smithfield, said, “Once again this demonstrates the continuing value of our vertical-integration strategy.” He added that sales volume of Smithfield’s case-ready fresh pork was up three times from the previous year, due partly to agreements with Wal-Mart and other retailers.