Meatpacking Closures ‘Disastrous’ For Supply Chain

Smithfield Foods on Sunday announced that its pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., one of the largest in the country, is “closed until further notice.” It’s the latest in a string of major agricultural facilities temporarily shutting down operations amid the pandemic — a trend that ultimately could put a dent in the U.S. meat supply, the Virginia-based company warned.

“The closure of this facility, combined with a growing list of other protein plants that have shuttered across our industry, is pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply,” CEO Kenneth Sullivan said. “It is impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked if our plants are not running.”

Besides the impact on consumers, he also warned of “severe, perhaps disastrous repercussions” up and down the supply chain — especially for livestock producers. The Sioux Falls site employs about 3,700 people, processes nearly 130 million food servings per week and buys from 550 independent producers, according to the company.

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