(Adds details about pits holding hog waste, background)
CHICAGO Oct 13 Smithfield Foods said
it resumed partial operations on Thursday at the world's largest
hog processing facility in North Carolina, after shutting it due
to Hurricane Matthew.
The company also said it had a report of flood waters rising
into a pit holding hog waste at one of the farms contracted to
sell it livestock. It has not received reports "to date" that
any of the in-ground pits have fallen apart due to flooding from
the storm, according to a statement.
Farmers and food companies in North Carolina are working to
assess damage from Matthew, the most powerful Atlantic storm
since 2007, and get back to work as parts of the state remain
Environmental regulators and activists have been concerned
about flood waters inundating pits holding hog waste after
Hurricane Floyd overwhelmed them in 1999. The waste, mixing with
water, can make its way into rivers, streams and the Atlantic
On Wednesday, North Carolina's Department of Environmental
Quality said that some pits holding hog waste had been inundated
but posed a minimal threat to the environment.
Smithfield employees are working "around the clock to
determine the impact of the extraordinarily high levels of rain
in North Carolina on the company's farms and processing
facilities," the company said.
They are monitoring reports on pits from on the ground and
air, it said.
Smithfield's Tar Heel, North Carolina, hog plant, the
biggest in the world, had been closed since Saturday as Matthew
made it difficult for people to get to work and for producers to
deliver livestock. It has an estimated daily slaughter capacity
of 32,500 hogs.
The company's plant in Clinton, North Carolina, also was
operating at a reduced rate on Thursday, according to the
statement. A plant in Gwaltney, Virginia, was back to full
Both facilities were recently idled by the storm. They have
a daily estimated slaughter capacity of roughly 10,000 head,
according to National Hog Farmer magazine.
"None of our processing plants in North Carolina or Virginia
suffered substantive damage, but flooding is making the movement
of hogs and employees difficult," Smithfield said.
(Reporting By Theopolis Waters, Jim Brumm and Tom Polansek;
editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Bernard Orr)