Tyson had also planned to build a new poultry complex that included a hatchery, feed mill and processing facility just outside of Tonganoxie, Kansas, in Leavenworth County. However, a grass roots campaign, led by Citizens Against Project Sunset (CAPS), and organized by residents concerned about the negative environmental and economic impact of the facilities on the community started opposing the project. CAPS launched a website (www.nototyson.com), started a social media campaign opposing the project and distributed yard signs that read “No Tyson in Tongie.”
Production capacity at the facility was estimated at 1.25 million chickens per week when the plant became fully operational. But in September, Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson announced plans to put the project on hold while considering other locations after county commissioners in Leavenworth County voted to rescind a resolution of intent to approve revenue bonds totaling $500 million to support construction of the complex.
According to the open letter released by Tyson on Sept. 19, the company still has interest in Leavenworth County, but will “prioritize the other locations in Kansas and other states that have expressed support.”
Smithfield expansion and acquisition
In August of this year, Smithfield Foods Inc. announced new construction and expansion at its Tar Heel, North Carolina, processing facility. The company will build a new distribution center and expand its blast cell cold storage at an estimated cost of $100 million. To bring the two projects to fruition will require approximately 250 new jobs. Currently the Tar Heel plant, one of the largest pork processing facilities in the world, employs almost 5,000 and processes over 30,000 hogs a day.
“This expansion reflects the promising new era we’re experiencing at Smithfield,” said Kenneth Sullivan, president and CEO at Smithfield. “It supports our continued growth and helps us better serve our customers by providing additional capacity and optimizing our distribution footprint.”
Both projects are now underway and Smithfield estimates completion by fall of 2018 with the new distribution center covering 500,000 sq. ft. and 47,000 pallet positions. The expansion of the blast cell cold storage expansion will increase the company’s capacity by 140 million lbs.
“At Smithfield, we’re constantly evaluating strategies to achieve greater operational efficiencies and make our supply chain more sustainable,” said Dennis Organ, senior vice president, supply chain and direct store delivery (DSD) for Smithfield Foods. “This project will help us accomplish both goals while better serving our customers in the southeastern US.”
Smithfield is also expanding its international operations through acquisition. Smithfield’s parent company, WH Group Ltd. announced on Sept. 25 that Smithfield Foods acquired three pork processing plants and five distribution centers in Romania with the acquisition of Elit SRL and Vericom SRL, for an undisclosed amount contingent on anti-monopoly approval from regulators.
In a published statement, WH Group stated the two companies have the capacity to produce up to 45,000 metric tons, although current production is about 25,000 metric tons. That production currently serves over 12,000 customers in the Romanian distribution network.
“The group expects the acquisitions to give Smithfield a leading position in the Romanian packaged meats market with a branded portfolio of products sold in the higher-margin traditional channel,” according to WH Group.