Smithfield, Cargill Close Meat Plants Ahead of Hurricane Florence

Smithfield Foods has closed it’s Tar Heel, N.C., pork plant for Thursday and Friday due to Hurricane Florence.

Despite being downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 200 mph, officials warn threats of winds, flooding and storm surge.  The storm is expected to make landfall late Thursday evening or Friday morning and then stall, dropping large amounts of precipitation.



The Tar Heel plant can slaughter 35,000 hogs per day and has 4,400 employees, according to company information.

The company also plans to close its Clinton, S.C., facility, which has a 10,600 hogs per day capacity.

Cargill said it would close it’s beef processing plant in South Carolina and a turkey plant in Dayton, Va., on Friday. Exports out of the Port of Norfolk, Virginia, Hampton Roads plans to closed all traffic at noon on Sept. 12.

North Carolina is the country’s No. 2 hog production state and the looming hurricane sent U.S. hog futures lower. Reuters reports that Chicago Mercantile Exchange October lean hog futures plunged 2.7 percent and December tumbled 2.9 percent as the pork plant closures were expected to back up hog supplies.

Farmers Prepare

Hurricane preparations are also underway for the 200-company owned farms and 1,500 contract farms in the state, Smithfield told AgDay.

All of the state’s farmers were putting in extra hours to haul extra feed for livestock, finish grain harvest and care for livestock.

“Tropical storm force winds extend 175 miles from the center and hurricane-force winds now extend 70 miles from the center [of the storm],” said Steve Goldstein, FEMA/NOAA meteorologist, in this AgDay segment from Thursday morning, above.

Hog farmers in North Carolina report lagoons are in good shape to extra rainfall. For more information, see “Hog Farms and Hurricanes: A Primer on Lagoons and Flooding.”

As farmers prepare their operations for heavy winds and flooding, be sure to have chemicals, fuels fertilizers and machinery ready for the storm. See more in 5 Tips to Keep Your Farm Operating in a Disaster.

Contact information and a list of resources to deal with the aftermath will be crictically important as the storm leaves the area. Here’s a handy list of USDA resources farmers need to help in the recovery effort.

Click here for full coverage of Hurricane Florence.

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