Good news for pork producers in the Dakotas.
Smithfield Foods is hiring back about 250 ofr the 400 people it laid off earlier this year at its Sioux City, Iowa, plant.
Rehiring workers will help to meet new demand for pork from China. The company announced in August that it entered into an agreement with a major Chinese trading company for the purchase of 60 million pounds of Paylean-free pork for delivery by the end of December.
"We are very pleased to begin a business relationship with this trading company in the Chinese market," said C. Larry Pope, Smithfield Foods president and chief executive officer, in announcing the sale. "Although our agreement today is modest, we believe there could be additional purchases and we are hopeful that this is the beginning of a longer-term and growing association. This is a milestone for Smithfield in terms of our business alliances in China and represents another step in our global expansion."
Greg Schnieders, a Dell Rapids, S.D., pork producer, told the Argus Leader that Smithfield's contract with China, "could be absolutely fantastic for the future. It could open up a very big customer base for United States agriculture and us pork producers. There are a lot of people over there, and it sure would be nice to feed some of them."