Hormel Foods, a multinational manufacturer of food, meat and poultry products, has said it will complete the transformation of its Rochelle, Illinois, plant from a pig slaughter operation to a value-added product processing facility.
The facility will now be used to produce cured and smoked meats.
"Branded, value-added products accounted for 78 per cent of our total sales mix in fiscal 2001, and one of our growth strategies is to expand our value-added product offering further," said Joel Johnson, president and chief executive officer of Hormel Foods Corporation. "The transition at the Rochelle plant will allow us to expand capacity to meet growing demand for value-added products while maximising operating efficiencies."
The company plans to conclude slaughter activities at the plant on 8 November, and begin the renovation immediately. Through normal attrition and increased processing operations, the company plans to minimise the impact to the workforce.
The company announcement stated that the size and design of the Rochelle slaughter department "make it cost-prohibitive to operate in a competitive environment, despite an excellent workforce and management team".
The company hopes that the conversion of the new area to further processing will enhance the manufacturing base at the Rochelle facility.
The decision will result in the discontinuance of trading relationships with many pig producers in the area, a fact that has already raised a number of objections and will undoubtedly cause Hormel no small amount of grief. The company said that both contract and open market hog purchases are affected.