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Smithfield Pork Packer Closing California Facility

Adding to the food shortages around the country, Smithfield, America’s largest pork packer, is closing its plant in Vernon, California. Why? Because the cost of operating in California is rising, in addition to red tape regulations in the state that have hampered the pork producer.

The company issued the following statement (emphasis mine):

Smithfield Foods, Inc. today announced that it will cease all harvest and processing operations in Vernon, California in early 2023 and, at the same time, align its hog production system by reducing its sow herd in its Western region. The company will decrease its sow herd in Utah and is exploring strategic options to exit its farms in Arizona and California. Smithfield harvests only company-owned hogs in Vernon. Smithfield will service customers in California with its Farmer John brand and other brands and products from existing facilities in the Midwest.

Smithfield is taking these steps due to the escalating cost of doing business in California.

Smithfield is providing transition assistance to all impacted employees, including relocation options to other company facilities and farms as well as retention incentives to ensure business continuity until early next year. The company reached an agreement this week with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the International Union of Operating Engineers as part of its plan to close the Vernon facility.

“We are grateful to our team members in the Western region for their dedication and invaluable contributions to our mission. We are committed to providing financial and other transition assistance to employees impacted by this difficult decision,” said Smithfield Chief Operating Officer Brady Stewart.

Smithfield statement

Part of Smithfield’s problems are due to Proposition 12 – the California animal welfare statute that kicked in January 2022. Colloquially called the “Bacon ban,” it set rules for the size of animal confinement. Another issue for them is the rising cost of energy to run their plant in California.

Jim Monroe, vice president for corporate affairs of Smithfield, said two main factors drove the company’s decision: high costs and overregulation.

“The cost of doing business in California is significantly higher than other states where we operate. Utilities, for example, are 3.5 times per head higher than our other location where we do the same work. Taxes and other costs are significantly higher,” he told The Epoch Times…

Propositions 12—an animal protection bill backed by the Humane Society—mandates factory farms to give hens, sows, and veal calves enough room to stand up, lie down, turn around, and stretch their limbs without hitting the sides of a cage.

The law also implements a sales ban against noncompliant animal products including eggs, pork, and veal, from out of state.

The Epoch Times 

The cost of food is rising exponentially, only partly due to this situation. The Avian flu has decimated chicken and egg production in portions of the country, as well as food packing and storage facilities that have burned down around the country.

Will there be supply chain issues with moving pork products to the West from the Midwest? With the high cost of diesel fuel, trucks or even air carriers that use jet fuel will have cost issues due to the longer distances involved.

California is bleeding companies and it’s their own fault.

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H/T Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children

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Faye Higbee

Faye Higbee is the columnist manager for Uncle Sam's Misguided Children. All of her posts on Conservative Firing Line are also posted on Uncle Sam's.

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