FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 05, 2000

Lila White
www.thedigitaldominion.com
(804) 692-3110


Jerry Hostetter
Smithfield Foods, Inc.
(212) 758-8568
Jill Lawrence
VEDP
(804) 371-0049
Governor Gilmore Announces Smithfield Foods Expansion
-- 176 new jobs created in Isle of Wight County - -


Richmond - Governor Jim Gilmore today announced that Smithfield Foods, Inc. will expand its Smithfield Packing Company facility in Isle of Wight County creating 176 new jobs for Virginians. The expansion will incorporate a special packaging process extending the shelf life of the company's popular meat products. Smithfield Foods will invest $3.9 million in the expansion.

"Food processing is a thriving industry in Virginia that includes companies such as Frito-Lay, Hershey, Maple Leaf and Coors," said Governor Gilmore. "Smithfield Foods' decision to expand its operations right here in Virginia is a true testament to our positive business climate."

With annual sales of $5.2 billion, Smithfield Foods is the largest vertically integrated producer and marketer of fresh pork and processed meats in the world. Brands include Smithfield Lean Generation Pork(TM), Smithfield Premium, Gwaltney, John Morrell, Patrick Cudahy, Schneiders, Krakus, Lykes, Esskay, Kretschmar, Valleydale, Jamestown, Dinner Bell, Sunnyland, ReaLean, Patrick's Pride, Great, Tobins First Prize, Peyton's Rodeo, IQM, Curly's, Ember Farms and others. The company also has operating subsidiaries in Canada, France and Poland and participates in joint ventures in Canada, Brazil and Mexico. The foreign subsidiaries have slaughter operations and sell fresh pork, processed meats and other related food products. The joint ventures are involved in all aspects of the pork business, including hog production and slaughter, as well as the sale of fresh and processed meats.

Known for the famous "Smithfield Ham," Smithfield Foods has operations in Smithfield, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Waverly and Salem employing over 6,100 people in Virginia. Combined annual sales figures to customers in the state exceeded $277 million last year. The Smithfield Packing Co. division has three locations in Virginia and accounted for more than 44% percent of company's total sales in the state.

"Implementation of the Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) process, will increase operating efficiencies while improving product quality," said Smithfield Packing Company's Senior Vice President of Operations Jere Null. "MAP is an innovative new packaging technology that is quickly becoming the trend in the food industry. Retailers are able to stock MAP products in the store with a significantly reduced risk of spoilage. Quality control, consistency, and appearance will be enhanced ensuring that our customers receive the freshest pork products possible," said Null.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance, Isle of Wight County and the Town of Smithfield assisted the company with its decision. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide workforce training services.

"It is a pleasure doing business in Virginia. The positive partnerships that we have developed with the State, Isle of Wight County and the Town of Smithfield have provided the assistance and assurance needed for the development and ultimate success of this project," said Smithfield Foods' Director of Business Incentives Bill Dyer. "We are excited about the positive economic contribution that the new jobs and capital investment will provide for the citizens right here in our local community."

"This expansion by Smithfield Foods is another example of the Commonwealth's commitment to existing business," said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Barry E. DuVal. "Smithfield's continued expansion in its home town will pay great dividends to Virginia's future economic growth."

VIRGINIA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP

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