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Smithfield Foods Inc., one of the largest private employers in eastern North Carolina, will be adding a new product line of packaged meats as part of its expansion of a Smithfield Packing Co. facility in Kinston. The expansion will create 330 new jobs with an investment of $85.5 million over the next three years, according to a statement from Gov. Beverly Perdue’s office.
The governor has awarded a $700,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund to Smithfield Packing Co. to help finance the expansion. The grant must also be matched by a local government to qualify, and according to a report in the Kinston Free Press newspaper, the Lenoir County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved an economic development incentives package for Smithfield Foods at a special meeting on Nov. 9. Details of the county’s incentive package were not available.
Annual salaries for the new Smithfield Foods jobs created will average $27,644 plus benefits, which is below the Lenoir County average annual wage of $29,276.
Smithfield Packing Co., which is a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, operates the existing Kinston facility. Its primary lines of business include production of fresh pork, smoked meats, bacon, cooked hams, and hot dogs for retail, food-service and deli channels. In addition to the Smithfield brand, its other food brands include Gwaltney, Esskay and Cumberland Gap. Smithfield Packaging exports products to about 30 countries.