RALEIGH, NC – Smithfield Packing Company, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods Inc., is expanding its Kinston facility in Lenoir County, NC, announced Gov. Bev Perdue (D-NC) on Nov. 10. Smithfield intends to add a new packaged meats product line at that facility. The $85.5 million expansion is expected to create 330 jobs during the next three years.

The news comes on the heels of Smithfield announcing it will move production from its Portsmouth, Va., hot dog and lunch meat plant to its Kinston facility as part of its plan to close the Portsmouth facility in 2013. Approximately 425 hourly and salaried employees will be affected by the closure.

Thanks, in part, to a $700,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund, the Kinston expansion project is moving forward. "The expansion of the Kinston plant will allow us to increase our packaged meats production to keep up with growing customer demand for our products," explained C. Larry Pope, president and chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods.

"From a local economic development standpoint, we are pleased this project will bring additional jobs to North Carolina and add revenue to the local economy," added Tim Schellpeper, Smithfield Packing president.

Salaries for hires at the expansion will vary by job function, but the average annual wage for the new jobs will be $27,644, plus benefits, according to a news release. Smithfield Foods currently employs more than 12,400 people throughout North Carolina.