Smithfield Confirms Closure Of 35 Hog Farms In Mercer, Putnam Counties

Over three months after reports suggested their closure, Smithfield Foods confirmed over the weekend it would close about three dozen hog farms in Mercer and Putnam Counties.  The St Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Smithfield provided 60-day notice to the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development that it would close several of its hog farms located in Lucerne, Newtown and Princeton.  The closure effective October 8th will impact 92 jobs.  The Post-Dispatch reports that according to the notice, affected employees have been offered the opportunity to relocate to another facility if an opening exists.

Reports surfaced in late April that Smithfield was considering the farms’ closure.  At the time, a spokesman told Regional Radio that, quote: “We are always taking steps to enhance our business for consistently strong performance during favorable and unfavorable market conditions.”  In the past three months, meat producers have experienced lower sales and higher costs as consumers adjust to higher interest rates and rising inflation.  The pork industry is also dealing with added costs to comply with California’s Proposition 12, after the Supreme Court’s decision in May allowed that state’s animal welfare law to stand.

Tyson Foods posted a net income loss for the third quarter Monday of nearly $350 million.  As a result, Tyson will begin closing four chicken processing facilities over the next six months, including two in Southern Missouri.