Smithfield Foods surprised the livestock industry by announcing intentions to purchase Tyson Foods' hog operations held in a wholly owned subsidiary called The Pork Group Inc. This announcement came one month after the large pork packer revealed plans to purchase Murphy Family Farms, Rose Hill, NC.
Smithfield plans to pay 3 million shares of its common stock for Tyson's hog farms, which market 1.8 million hogs annually. Most of the farms are located in the Midwest and North Carolina.
If both purchases are completed, Smithfield will account for 13% of the nation's hog production. This is creating concerns that Smithfield's control of hogs and slaughter facilities will depress cash markets. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin and USDA Secretary Dan Glickman both are asking the U.S. Justice Department to review the purchases.