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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Smithfield May Shutter John Morrell in Sioux Falls

The Sioux Falls John Morrell plant celebrated 100 years of chopping up pigs in its current location last May. Now, with the pork market declining, a Minneapolis commodities analyst says Morrell's owner Smithfield Foods could halt operations at its Sioux Falls and Sioux City plants. There's just too much pork being produced and not enough being eaten.

We'll do what we can about the demand side of that equation at the South Dakota Blogosphere Open House on July 25... but even if Hubba is really hungry, I don't think we'll single-handedly stave off a plant closing.

How bad is Smithfield's condition? The article an eager reader sends me notes that Smithfield reported its first yearly net loss since 1975 (–$190M, says Smithfield), due to higher grain-feed costs. Hmmm... anyone want to draw a connection to ethanol? (And remember: pork producers can't take advantage of ethanol byproducts as feed stock.)

Should Smithfield decide it needs to close operations at Morrell's, might Sioux Falls workers follow the lead of their French brothers in labor? Some French car parts workers are threatening to blow up their old factory if they don't get better severance packages from Renault and Peugeot. Yikes!

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