SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (WNAX) – Smithfield Foods in Sioux Falls is suspending operations indefinitely due to the COVID-19 outbreak at the meat processing facility. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem had asked Smithfield Foods President and CEO Ken Sullivan to stop operations for at least 14 days as more than half the cases of COVID-19 in Minnehaha County are plant workers, which totaled 238 on Sunday.
South Dakota Pork Producers Council President Craig Andersen says the plant processes nearly 20,000 head per day so the impact on pork producers in the state and region will be devastating.
He says they’re hopeful Smithfield is not offline long because finding another facility to process those hogs will be difficult with the record numbers being produced nationally.
Andersen says producers raise a perishable product and can’t delay the marketing of hogs very long without a disaster.
He says they are concerned about the health of plant workers and are reassuring the public this is not a threat to food safety.