Smithfield ‘fully committed’ to NC pork operations despite West Coast pullback


David Larson, The Carolina Journal (NC)

June 16, 2022


On June 10, Smithfield Foods announced that their Vernon, California, pork-processing plant would be closing in early 2023 due to “the escalating cost of doing business in California.” With the largest pork-processing plant in the world being another Smithfield plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina, there are concerns that the rising costs of labor, fuel, and overall inflation may threaten operations like these as well.


Carolina Journal reached out to Smithfield and asked whether the same pressures are putting the Tar Heel plant at risk.


“Our Tar Heel facility plays a vital role in fulfilling our mission to supply good food responsibly,” Jim Monroe, vice president of corporate affairs, told CJ on June 15. “We have no current plans to close additional facilities and are fully committed to the work we do in Tar Heel and across North Carolina.”


The Smithfield press release did not just announce that they were shutting down one of their plants. They also said they were reducing their farming operations across the Western region.


“The company will decrease its sow herd in Utah and is exploring strategic options to exit its farms in Arizona and California,” the release said. “Smithfield harvests only company-owned hogs in Vernon. Smithfield will service customers in California with its Farmer John brand and other brands and products from existing facilities in the Midwest.”


The spring 2022 Global Pork Quarterly Report from RaboResearch sees a weak market overall...