Smithfield Foods, a leading meat-processing company, recently opened a new distribution center in Tar Heel, North Carolina. It is located next to the company’s existing processing facility, which employs over 5,000 people. The new distribution center will create an additional 250 jobs in Bladen County, a North Carolina county with a total population of around 35,000 residents in which Smithfield is already a leading employer. 

Smithfield first announced back in August 2017 that it was investing over $100 million in the project, which will allow the company to more efficiently transport products from its existing facility to other locations, lowering costs and speeding up delivery times. The new distribution center is also intended to reduce the total distance that products have to travel and to thereby limit the amount of fuel required to move products from the processing facility to their destinations, reducing Smithfield’s carbon footprint. 

The new facility has a total area of approximately half a million square feet and will be able to process over one billion pounds of products each year. It also contains almost 50,000 pallet positions, and it is the recipient of considerable investment in blast cells to ensure there is enough cold storage capacity for the products that will be kept there. 



The CEO of Smithfield Foods, Kenneth Sullivan, celebrated the opening of the facility and described his company as experiencing an “exciting time of growth.” The occasion was also noted by a member of the North Carolina State Senate, Bill Rabon, who praised Smithfield as an “important contributor” to the county and state. The facility has already started shipping products and should be entirely up and running by early 2019. 

Smithfield Foods, founded by Joseph W. Luter and his son in 1936 as the Smithfield Packing Company, is a major employer in the region, with over 10,000 employees in the state of North Carolina. The company, which has an annual revenue of close to $15 billion, is also expanding its operations in South Dakota, recently investing $45 million in expanding its Sioux Falls facility. A distribution center is one of the projects involved in that investment as well, though in that case the goal will be to renovate the existing distribution center at Sioux Falls to incorporate state-of-the-art technology. 

With over 50,000 employees worldwide, Smithfield Foods is the largest producer of pork in the world. It sells its products under many different brands, including Smithfield, Nathan’s Famous, Armour, Cook’s, and Farmland.