SMITHFIELD, Va. – Officials with Smithfield Foods Inc. announced on Dec. 6, plans to renovate its pork processing operations and a hog barn to accommodate continued growth for bacon and additional processing to keep up with demand for ground, seasoned pork exports. The company estimates spending $45 million on facilities in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, including upgrades to its bacon processing line as well as its ground pork production facility and distribution center. Updating and rebuilding a hog barn with a capacity of 8,000 head is also a part of the project. To increase bacon production, Smithfield is installing new, high-speed equipment, which will also improve quality and yield of its bacon operation. These improvements are scheduled to be completed in approximately five months and add about 70 employees to the 3,600 currently working there.

Automation is the theme of the company’s seasoned ground pork processing operation, including renovating the existing distribution center, which should be completed by March 2019 to meet export market demands. The plant, built in 1909, also produces deli meats, hot dogs, smoked hams and fresh pork.

According to the company, after the project is complete, “it will be the most modern operation in the industry, incorporating the latest technology for automated packaging, boxing, labeling, and stacking.”

Jason Richter, president of Smithfield’s international group said, “Export markets are key for the continued growth of all US hog producers and pork processors. This new project further positions the company to meet the demands of consumers in these key markets, benefitting our national and local economies, including creating new jobs in Sioux Falls.”

Upgrades to Smithfield’s hog barn, which is being rebuilt with a Fall 2019 finish date, will implement the latest animal welfare designs and features available to the pork industry.

“In South Dakota, one in 10 jobs are in manufacturing and agriculture is the number one industry in our state,” said Governor-Elect Kristi Noem, State of South Dakota. “Smithfield’s latest investment bolsters these two key industries, which has a far-reaching, positive economic impact across the entire state.”