SMITHFIELD, Va. (AP) - Meat producer Smithfield Foods Inc. is closing its Portsmouth, Va., plant and cutting 425 jobs as it shifts production to a plant in North Carolina.
The Portsmouth plant, which produces hot dogs and lunch meat, will close in 2013. Production will be shifted to a plant in Kinston, N.C. Some employees will have the opportunity to go there or to a facility in Smithfield, Virginia.
The jobs that will be cut are both hourly and salaried.
"Unemployment stuff is hard out here so it'll be something out there," employee Noah Mann said.
Mann is looking at a potential double layoff. "Well, my wife works here also, so you know that's a big one right there," Mann added.
The company said it will negotiate with union officials to determine who transfers.
Meat producers are facing high feed costs. Smithfield foods net income rose in its most recent quarter, but the company expects high food costs to persist for the balance of the year.
10 On your Side put in a request to speak with Portsmouth City Manager Kenneth Chandler or Economic Development Director Patrick Small about the state of Portsmouth's economy. WAVY.com did not hear back from either. Instead City Spokesperson Dana Woodson responded in an email saying, "Smithfield foods said it plans to work with Portsmouth to find a new use for the facility."
10 On Your Side then requested speaking with the City Manager or Economic Development Director again.
Woodson said she'll get back to WAVY.com next week.
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