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NCPC Speaks Out on Sale of Smithfield Foods

Smithfield Foods surprised everyone last week with the announcement that they plan to sell to Shuanghui International, China’s largest pork processor. Deborah Johnson, Executive Director of North Carolina Pork Council says that after time to analyze and digest the news, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing:

“The agreement to sell the company to Shuanghui International appears to bode well for the pork production chain including hog farmers her in NC. There are some unknowns but what few exist are likely out weighed by what we do know now. Shuanghui International and Smithfield have said they will leave the Smithfield operations in place including hog farming and processing operations. That is good news for NC.”

Initially, there was some chatter about Smithfield importing Chinese product, and/or Smithfield’s product standards being lowered. Johnson says those fears appear to be unfounded:

“There has also been some fear about the flow of product from China to here. This does not mean that Chinese product is coming to the US. This is a one way flow of meat product.”

Most hogs in North Carolina belong to Smithfield, one way or the other, and Johnson says she anticipates no change in number of farms, or number of head on current farms when the sale is complete:

“Smithfield is already selling into the China market at this time, how much that will increase I don’t know. Here in NC we are in a stable situation and we don’t have the ability to increase hog farms at this time so we don’t see the structure of NC farms changing at this point.”

There’s been much talk over the last year on expanding North Carolina’s two ports at Wilmington and Morehead City, neither of which have refrigeration capabilities. Johnson says we’ve seen other countries spend their own money to improve US infrastructure, and it’s possible that Shuanghui International could make that type of investment here:

“I don’t know what their plans are but they see a very vibrant company in Smithfield. We have seen large investment being made into US companies by many countries. This should be a source of optimism for our hog farming community.” is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.