Smithfield Packing Company has announced plans to build an $85-million ham manufacturing plant in Kinston, NC, that will create 206 new jobs for Lenoir County residents.

Construction on the 180,000-sq.-ft. facility is targeted to start in early 2005, with completion set for April 2006.

The new plant will use state-of-the-art technology to manufacture deli hams, sliced deli products and retail and foodservice hams. Production volume will start at 75 million lb. in the first year of operation in 2006, and expand to 100 million lb. by 2011, according to Smithfield officials.