AP

Smithfield Foods to shutter California meat-packing plant

Jun 10, 2022, 5:17 PM | Updated: 5:48 pm

VERNON, Calif. (AP) — Meat-packing giant Smithfield Foods said Friday it will close its only California plant next year, citing the escalating cost of doing business in the state.

The Farmer John meat-packing plant in Vernon, an industrial suburb south of Los Angeles, will shut down in February, with its 1,800 employees receiving severance and job placement support along with bonuses for those who choose to stay on the job until the closure, said Jim Monroe, vice president of corporate affairs.

Some workers, who on average earn about $21 per hour, also will have opportunities to relocate to other facilities owned by the Virginia-based Smithfield Foods Inc.

The Vernon plant slaughters pigs and packages products such as ham and bacon. Some operations will be moved to other facilities in the Midwest, but the overall reduction in processing capacity is prompting Smithfield to reduce its sow herd in Utah. The company also said it is exploring ways to exit its farms in California and Arizona.

Monroe said operating costs in California are much higher than in other areas of the country, including taxes and the price of water, electricity and natural gas.

“Our utility costs in California are 3 1/2 times higher per head than our other locations where they do the same type of work,” he said.

The shutdown is not expected to reduce supply or increase costs on products, and Farmer John Products will still be sold in California, Monroe said.

“There won’t be any impact on our customers,” he said.

The Vernon plant has been the target of repeated protests by animal rights activists over its treatment of hogs. It also was hard-hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, with some 300 employees exposed to infections in 2020. Several were hospitalized.

California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health fined Smithfield Foods about $60,000 for safety violations that exposed workers to infection.

Smithfield Foods was founded in Smithfield, Virginia, in 1936 and according to its website provides more than 40,000 jobs in the United States. It was acquired in 2013 by Hong Kong-based WH Group.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Arizona and New York attorneys feud over extraditing suspect...

Associated Press

Why Alvin Bragg and Rachel Mitchell are fighting over extraditing suspect in New York hotel killing

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell says she isn't into extraditing a suspect due to her lack of faith in Manhattan’s top prosecutor.

1 day ago

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018. A 34-year-old Color...

Associated Press

Colorado man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death by one of the desert lizards if the creature's venom turns out to have been the cause.

3 days ago

Police clear the area following a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football Super Bowl celebr...

Associated Press

1 dead, many wounded after shooting at Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade

One person died after 22 people were hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of the Kansas Chiefs' Super Bowl victory celebration Wednesday.

10 days ago

This image from House Television shows House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., banging the gavel after h...

Associated Press

GOP-led House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas — by one vote — over border management

Having failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the first time, House Republicans are determined to try again Tuesday.

10 days ago

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, and Kenya's Defense Minister Aden Duale, left, listen during...

Associated Press

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hospitalized with bladder issue

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized following symptoms pointing to an “emergent bladder issue."

12 days ago

Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church, stands with his wife, Victoria Osteen, as he conducts a...

Associated Press

Woman firing rifle killed by 2 off-duty officers at Houston’s Lakewood Church run by Joel Osteen

A woman entered the Texas megachurch of Joel Osteen and started shooting with a rifle Sunday and was killed by two off-duty officers.

13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Smithfield Foods to shutter California meat-packing plant