BEAVER COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – The Beaver County Commission unanimously voted to declare a local state of economic emergency on Friday, after learning Smithfield Foods is closing its plant in California.
Beaver County Commissioner Tammy Pearson said Smithfield Foods has been a part of the community for decades.
“It’s just terrifying to think of a future without Smithfield,” said Pearson.
While the company hasn’t announced any specific plans for its contracts in Utah, on Thursday, the company announced it would close a plant in California. Several Utah hog producers supply that plant. In a press release, the company said it plans on decreasing its sow herd in Utah.
Bailee Woolstenhulme with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food said this closure could have a huge impact on the state.
“We have 28 farms that are contracted with Smithfield Foods,” said Woolstenhulme.
Woolstenhulme said this is why Utah needs to have its own food infrastructure, building processing plants locally so communities aren’t relying on out-of-state businesses, a solution that is currently being thrown around by getting Smithfield to build a plant in Utah.
Pearson said Smithfield is the county’s largest employer, with around 450 employees. If those employees lose their jobs, they could leave, along with other companies that relied on them for business.
The commission plans to meet with the governor and the commissioner of agriculture early next week.