Processing Magazine

Smithfield Foods Subsidiary Will Close Iowa Plant

January 21, 2010
In a press release statement, John Morrell & Co. announced that it would permanently close its Sioux City, Iowa-hog processing and fresh meat fabrication plant effective in April 2010. The plant, which is a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, Inc., processes hogs and produces boneless loins and other fresh pork products. "We deeply regret having to close this facility," said Joseph B. Sebring, president of John Morrell. "We recognize that layoffs and plant closings are difficult for everyone concerned. But at the same time, we believe this is a necessary business decision. The Sioux City plant is one of the oldest, most outdated and least efficient plants in the Smithfield system," he continued. The Sioux City plant closure will affect approximately 1,450 hourly and salaried employees. The company will confer with union officials regarding this transition. The company will comply with the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), and will provide employees with a 90-day notification of the plant closure. Under the WARN Act, the company also will notify state dislocated worker units so that they can promptly offer dislocated worker assistance. WARN Act notices, where appropriate, are being issued today. The company said that three other Smithfield plants – located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Denison, Iowa; and Crete, Nebraska – have the capacity to partially absorb the number of hogs that are currently being processed at Sioux City and that it will transfer some of the Sioux City production to those plants in the near term. This partial transfer of production capacity will not require the company to secure additional employees. In addition, the company stated that it will honor all production contracts at Sioux City and that Smithfield has no further plans for plant closures in the foreseeable future.