Smithfield Foods has announced that the Virginia-based company is restructuring the pork group including closing six plants by December 2009. About 1,800 jobs will be eliminated.

Affected plants include:
The Smithfield Packing Co. South facility in Smithfield, VA, will be closed. Case-ready pork production will shift to the adjacent Smithfield North plant and a North Carolina facility in December, improving operating efficiency.

A Plant City, FL, facility producing packaged meats will shut its doors in September.

The Smithfield Packing Co. plant in Elon, NC, will close in late summer, eliminating country ham production.

A John Morrell plant in Great Bend, KS, that processes fresh pork and smoked meats will close in July.

The Farmland Foods plant in New Riegel, OH, will shift spiral ham production to other facilities and close in April.

An Armour-Eckrich Meats packaged meats plant in Hastings, NE, will close in July.

Smithfield Foods will also reduce the number of independent operating companies in the pork group from seven to three.

Among other cost-saving measures:
John Morrell and Farmland Foods will merge sales forces.

Patrick Cudahy Inc. will become part of the John Morrell Group.

Smithfield expects these and other actions will save the company about $55 million in fiscal 2010 and $125 million by fiscal 2011.