Bryan plant: Closing impacts swine industry

MISSISSIPPI - The so-called "Flavor of the South" may leave a lingering bad taste in the mouths of thousands of Mississippians.
calendar icon 31 January 2007
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The closing of the Bryan Foods plant in West Point is first and foremost a tragedy for the 1,200 workers who will lose their jobs when the facility shuts down in March.

But those are far from the only jobs and the only lives that will be impacted by the closing. The closing of the pork processing plant also threatens the state's swine farmers - many of whom provided hogs for processing at the Bryan plant.

There is no other large-scale pork processing facility in Mississippi to handle the estimated 450,000 hogs that had been processed annually at the Bryan plant.

Pork producers and their ancillary industries recorded more than $47.4 million in sales in 2005 as 500,000 hogs were grown on 1,000 Mississippi swine farms.

In 2006, there were 63 large commercial hog farms - concentrated animal-feeding operations or CAFOs - located in the state. But the rest of the swine farms were small family operations.

The largest contract grower is the North Carolina-based Prestage Farms Mississippi, headquartered in West Point, which employs about 200 people in addition to about 40 hog farmers under contract in Mississippi and Alabama.


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