Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) leaders are elated that Hormel Foods has decided to delay closing of its Rochelle, IL, slaughter facility until Jan. 4, 2003.

The current plant is being permanently transformed to a value-added processing plant producing cured and smoked meats.

"This (extension from previously announced closing on Nov. 8) is positive news for pork producers," remarks Mark Gebben, Casey, IL, pork producer and IPPA president. "Hormel’s decision to continue slaughtering hogs at the Rochelle plant will provide much-needed slaughter capacity during the end of 2002."

IPPA leaders and staff met with Hormel and USDA officials regarding the potential impact of the closing.

"Hormel’s decision to delay the closing will also give producers who have long-term contracts with Hormel more time to consider their options," says Gebben. "IPPA will continue to be involved in this issue and look for ways to help producers survive this challenging period of low market prices."