SIOUX CITY, Iowa -- Today (Feb. 19) is the day John Morrell & Co. has said it will temporarily discontinue second shift hog processing operations at its Sioux City, Iowa, facility.

This action will result in the temporary layoff of approximately 485 workers who work on the second shift at the plant. The company attributed its decision to unfavorable market conditions.

"This is a difficult but necessary decision to discontinue the second shift," said Joseph B. Sebring, president of John Morrell. "We hope to resume second shift operations when market conditions become more favorable," he said.

"We know that this is challenging for the employees affected. We will be working diligently to return them back to work as soon as possible," Sebring said. He said that the company would notify state dislocated worker units so that they can promptly offer dislocated worker assistance and coordinate with the local unemployment office to assist employees with claims or job applications.

As a result of the shutdown of the plant's second shift, the Sioux City facility will process approximately 7,000 hogs per day. About 900 employees will remain at work.

SOURCE: Smithfield Foods news release.