KINSTON, N.C. -- Smithfield Packing Company officially opened a new $100 million boneless cooked ham facility here today.

The plant has created 300 new jobs in North Carolina and will contribute more than $1.5 million in annual wages to the local economy.

"This new plant represents a glimpse of the future - the future of our company, the future of the food business and the future of North Carolina," said Joe Luter IV, president and chief operating officer of Smithfield Packing Co. "Smithfield has always had a strong presence in North Carolina, and we are excited to be opening this modern new facility in Kinston."

This is Smithfield's second plant in Kinston and its seventh plant in North Carolina. The company currently employs more than 11,000 workers in North Carolina.

The new Kinston plant is a boneless cooked ham facility that employs state-of-the-art technologies designed to improve food safety, enhance food quality and reduce water consumption. It will initially produce 90 million pounds of pork products annually, including deli ham and sliced lunch meat.

Smithfield Packing Co. is America's leading pork producer. It produces a variety of pork products -- country hams, hot dogs, bacon, deli meat, fresh meat, barbeque, sausage and more -- for customers around the world. It is a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, a leading international food company with annual revenues of $11 billion.

SOURCE: Smithfield Packing Company via PR Newswire.