SMITHFIELD, Va. – Smithfield Foods Inc. announced the grand opening of its distribution facility in Tar Heel, North Carolina, on Dec. 14.

Smithfield said the distribution center is 500,000 sq. ft. with 50,000 pallet positions and an annual capacity of more than 1 billion lbs. The company also said the facility includes a blast cell cold storage expansion with a storage capacity of 140 million lbs.

The company invested $100 million in the expanded facility and created 250 new jobs in the state.

“We are experiencing an exciting time of growth and this new distribution center will help us continue to optimize our footprint,” said Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and CEO of Smithfield Foods. “More than 10,000 Smithfield family members already call North Carolina home, and we’re proud that our investment in this project will create even more jobs. We look forward to welcoming new employees into our family.”

The Tar Heel facility is regarded as the largest pork processing plant in the world. It currently processes 30,000 hogs per day and employs 5,000 people.

Smithfield leadership and state dignitaries were on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“Smithfield’s investment in this new facility is yet another example of the company’s role as an economic driver for our state,” said North Carolina Sen. Bill Rabon. “In addition to providing thousands of well-paying jobs, the company and its people regularly support charitable causes that improve the lives of fellow North Carolinians. Smithfield continues to be a great partner of the Tar Heel State.”

In September, Smithfield said 102 salaried and hourly jobs in Clayton would be impacted because that distribution center would be closed.