Permit approval at a North Carolina packing plant will add one million head annually to processing capacity and $1/cwt. to hog prices, says National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) President Dave Roper.

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources in mid-November approved a renewed National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for the Tarheel, NC-based Smithfield Packing Company processing plant.

"The one-million-head increase in slaughter capacity represents a 1% increase in national slaughter capacity and will amount to an additional $250 million annually for our nation’s pork producers," Roper points out.

The expansion of slaughter capacity will reduce transportation costs for North Carolina producers. "With costs currently totaling from $3-8/head to ship hogs to alternative slaughter plants, it is estimated that keeping one million more animals in North Carolina will save pork producers $4-6 million/year in freight costs," Roper says. "These positive impacts will be felt in the pork industry for a long time."