Firm plans to lay off 92 salaried and hourly employees in Putnam and Mercer counties effective Oct. 8.

Ann Hess, Content Director

August 9, 2023

1 Min Read
National Pork Board

Smithfield Foods will be closing 35 farms in northern Missouri in October. According to the Missouri Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notice, the firm plans to lay off 92 salaried and hourly employees in Putnam and Mercer counties effective Oct. 8.

Murphy Brown, LLC, a division of Smithfield Foods, Inc., notified state officials last week the firm is reducing its hog farming operations across the state and thus must cut its workforce accordingly.

Jim Monroe, vice president for corporate affairs for Smithfield Foods, confirmed the Aug. 4 WARN announcement is related to earlier reporting in May regarding the closure of a possible 37 sow farms in Putnam and Mercer counties. Thirteen sites in Newtown, 12 in Lucerne and 10 in Princeton will permanently close in October.

According to the official notice, no union represents the employees at any of the sites. All those affected have been offered the opportunity to relocate to another Smithfield facility, but will not be able to bump or displace any other employee.

In April, China's WH Group informed shareholders and potential investors, that based on preliminary review of unaudited consolidated management accounts, the group was expecting a 56% drop in its first quarter 2023 profit outlook, from the US $395 million for the same period in 2022. In a filing with the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, the owner of Smithfield Foods said the decrease, before biological fair value adjustments, was mainly attributable to the challenging market conditions in the U.S. pork segment.

"Hog raising costs remain elevated while pork prices have been adversely impacted by softer consumer demand. The industry gross cut-out margin, or the spread between meat values (carcass cut-out published by the USDA) and hog costs (lean hog index published by Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Inc.), also declined significantly year-over-year during the three months."

About the Author(s)

Ann Hess

Content Director, National Hog Farmer

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