Sioux Falls Smithfield Foods Closing Until Further Notice
On Sunday morning Sioux Falls Smithfield Foods announced that they will be closing their facilities until further notice due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
On Thursday Smithfield shared that it planned to close its Sioux Falls pork processing plant for 3 days due to a large number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Minnehaha county, where Smithfield is located, has more than 430 of South Dakota's 547 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Smithfield Chief executive Kenneth Sullivan said in a statement, "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. It is impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked if our plants are not running. These facility closures will also have severe, perhaps disastrous, repercussions for many in the supply chain."
Smithfield noted in their statement that: "the plant is one of the largest pork processing facilities in the U.S., representing four to five percent of U.S. pork production. It supplies nearly 130 million servings of food per week, or about 18 million servings per day, and employs 3,700 people.
More than 550 independent family farmers supply the plant. In preparation for a full shutdown, some activity will occur at the plant on Tuesday to process products in inventory, consisting of millions of servings of protein. Smithfield will resume operations in Sioux Falls once further direction is received from local, state and federal officials.
The company will continue to compensate its employees for the next two weeks and hopes to keep them from joining the ranks of the tens of millions of unemployed Americans across the country."