Smithfield Foods announced on Sunday that its facility located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota will close indefinitely. This comes after the pork-production plant closed for three days due to a large number of their 3,700 employees tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
According to the release, the Sioux Falls facility accounts for around 4%-5% of the country’s pork production and is one of the largest pork processing facilities in the U.S. That said, Kenneth M. Sullivan — president and chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods — is concerned that this move will have a major impact on Americans.
“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,” he said. “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, first and foremost our nation’s livestock farmers. These farmers have nowhere to send their animals.”
Moreover, the company states that the plant supplies nearly 130 million servings of food per week — or about 18 million servings per day. In turn, Smithfield Foods announced on Monday that it is making a donation of more than 10 million pounds of protein to food banks across the U.S. This represents the largest donation in company history, according to the release, and will support food banks that are struggling to meet the increased demand due to the coronavirus.
Keira Lombardo, executive vice president of corporate affairs and compliance for Smithfield Foods, had this to say about the donation:
“The challenges our country is facing are unprecedented, and food banks across America are feeling the strain as food insecurity reaches new heights. Helping ensure the wellbeing of our neighbors in need is of the utmost importance now more than ever. To help meet this immense need, Smithfield is making our largest donation ever in hunger-relief support and deploying hundreds of truckloads of protein to communities throughout the country in response to COVID-19.”
Nick Clarkson is a web editor at InvestorPlace. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.