Smithfield Foods Adapts to Pork Industry Challenges, Ends Contracts with 26 Utah Hog Farms

Smithfield Foods, a major player in the pork industry, announced on Tuesday its decision to terminate contracts with 26 hog farms in Utah. This strategic move comes in response to an oversupply of pork in the industry, coupled with weakened consumer demand and soaring feed prices.

In a press release, Smithfield outlined its plan to offer relocation opportunities to the employees affected by the terminated contracts. Transition assistance will also be provided to support a smooth adjustment for those impacted. The company anticipates that this move may lead to the elimination of up to one-third of the 210 positions currently employed in its Utah hog production operations.

Smithfield Foods President and CEO Shane Smith addressed the challenging market conditions faced by the hog production industry. “Our industry and company are experiencing historically challenging hog production market conditions,” Smith stated. “Smithfield continues to take steps to improve operational efficiency and optimize our hog supply chain.”

The company’s strategic measures include rebalancing production with East Coast harvest capacity, reducing the sow herd in Missouri, and closing finishing operations in Utah. While acknowledging the difficulty of these decisions, Smith emphasized their necessity to ensure the company’s competitiveness in the current operating environment.

The pork industry as a whole has been grappling with historic losses in 2023, leading to the exit of numerous producers and packers from the business. Smithfield’s proactive steps highlight the industry’s resilience and adaptability as it navigates through these challenging times.