The company announced late last month that it was acquiring feed grain facilities in Ohio to support both domestic feed and international exports, it said.
The expansion into Ohio is expected to feed swine across the eastern hog production division for the company, it reported.
The move is anticipated to allow the company to work more closely with the farmers who produce the feed grains purchased both for Smithfield Foods' use and export, said Joe Szaloky, vice president of procurement and business development for Smithfield’s hog production division. “We are very excited to work more closely with our farmer suppliers and to be more involved and influential in what crops are grown and how those crops are grown,” he added.
“The Harpster facility is an express loading facility on the CSX rail network,” he told FeedNavigator. “The attractiveness of the facilities related to the economics of further integration of the supply chain.”
The new locations in Ohio include buying stations in Harpster and Morral, additional storage facilities and rail loading equipment, said the company.
However, the addition also serves to increase Smithfield’s presence in an area of the US where the company currently sources feed grains, said Szaloky. “This gives us a grain buying presence in a region of the country," he added.
The new facilities are expected to add about 4.4% of feed grains to the annual amount purchased by Smithfield, he said.
The sites also offer grain storage capacity.
The effort is part of the company’s sustainability push, and continues vertical integration work, said Szaloky. Previously, Smithfield made a commitment to source at least 75% of its feed grains from a sustainable location by 2018.
Grain funneled through the Harpster station is set to be used in feed production for Smithfield animals, it said. The company produces about 9m hogs at facilities in North Carolina.
However, soybeans purchased through the Morral facility will be slated for transport or export, the company said.