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Smithfield Foods Closing Six Plants, Cutting 1,800 Jobs

Smithfield Foods, Inc., the largest producer of fresh pork and packaged meats in the United States, will close six food processing facilities and cut 1,800 jobs as part of a company restructuring. The company says it will comply with the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act as part of the layoffs, including providing a 60-day notification to employees; some of those notices are being issued today. Smithfield will close facilities in Smithfield, Virginia, the location of the company's headquarters; Plant City, Florida; Elon, North Carolina; Great Bend, Kansas; New Riegel, Ohio; and Hastings, Nebraska. "Layoffs and plant closings are difficult but necessary decisions," says C. Larry Pope, the company's president and CEO, in a statement. "We know that this will create adversity for the employees affected and we will work with union officials and others to determine how we can provide assistance to our employees to find future employment. Also, we will be transferring many employees to other plants." Smithfield will also restructure its seven operating companies into three: the Smithfield Packaging Company, John Morrell & Co., and Farmland Foods.

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