Smithfield Foods, Inc., is a pork producer and food-processing company based in Smithfield, Virginia, in the United States, and a wholly owned subsidiary of WH Group of China. Founded in 1936 as the Smithfield Packing Company by Joseph W. Luter and his son, the company is the largest pig and pork producer in the world. In addition to owning over 500 farms in the US, Smithfield contracts with another 2,000 independent farms around the country to grow Smithfield's pigs. Outside the US, the company has facilities in Mexico, Poland, Romania, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Globally the company employed 50,200 in 2016 and reported an annual revenue of $14 billion. Its 973,000-square-foot meat-processing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina, was said in 2000 to be the world's largest, processing 32,000 pigs a day.
Then known as Shuanghui Group, WH Group purchased Smithfield Foods in 2013 for $4.72 billion. It was the largest Chinese acquisition of an American company to date. The acquisition of Smithfield's 146,000 acres of land made WH Group, headquartered in Luohe, Henan province, one of the largest overseas owners of American farmland.
Smithfield Foods began its growth in 1981 with the purchase of Gwaltney of Smithfield, followed by the acquisition of nearly 40 companies between then and 2008, including Eckrich; Farmland Foods of Kansas City; John Morrell; Murphy Family Farms of North Carolina; Circle Four Farms of Utah; and Premium Standard Farms. The company was able to grow as a result of its highly industrialized pig production, confining thousands of pigs in large barns known as concentrated animal feeding operations, and controlling the animals' development from conception to packing.
Highest paying job titles at Smithfield Foods include Plant Manager, HR Manager, and District Sales Manager