Smithfield Foods Closes Pork Processing Plant in South Dakota Indefinitely as COVID-19 Cases Rise
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Smithfield Foods Inc. has closed its pork processing plant in Sioux Falls until further notice. Nearly 250 workers tested positive for the coronavirus, more than half of the active coronavirus cases in the state of South Dakota, according to Gov. Kristi Noem. The Smithfield plant is one of the largest pork processing facilities in the U.S., representing 4 to 5 percent of U.S. pork production. It supplies nearly 130 million servings of food per week, or about 18 million servings per day. Smithfield employs 3,700 workers at the facility and more than 550 independent family farmers supply the plant.
“The closure of this facility, combined with a growing list of other protein plants that have shuttered across our country, is pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply,” says Kenneth Sullivan, president and CEO of Smithfield. “It is impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked if our plants are not running.”
Virginia-based Smithfield will resume operations in Sioux Falls once local, state and federal officials give further direction. The company will continue to compensate its employees for the next two weeks.