CHICAGO (Reuters) -Smithfield Foods said it will end contracts with 26 hog farms in the U.S. state of Utah, in the latest contraction by the world's largest pork processor in the face of an industry oversupply. Pork producers have been losing money as pig prices and consumer demand have struggled at a time of high costs for labor and other expenses. Smithfield, owned by Hong Kong's WH Group, said it will terminate employees who support its dealings with farms that raise hogs under production contracts.
Tyson Foods' (TSN) new production facility in Danville, VA, marks its most automated plant to date. It is likely to help the company serve the rising demand for its brand products.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday said it will extend for up to 90 days a trial program that allows six U.S. pork plants to operate faster processing-line speeds while collecting data on how the speeds affect meatpacking workers. The decision is a win for major meat companies like Tyson Foods and JBS SA and their farmers at a time when both are losing money. The plants, including one in Nebraska owned by Tyson and another in Illinois run by JBS' Swift Pork Co., were allowed to accelerate line speeds last year under a trial that required them to also implement worker safety measures under agreements with labor unions or worker safety committees.