Smithfield Packing Plant Closing

The closure is a devastating move for families who have no other source of income. It's the talk of the town in Madison County, the closing of Smithfield Packing Plant.

Antonio Butler is one of 486 employees who are now forced to find another to way make ends meet.

Antonio Butler says, "I feel bad because a lot of people won't have jobs and they will be out of work and no way to pay their bills and stuff, and that's bad for the community."

It’s a community of folks whose jobs have been on the chopping block before. In 2004, Winn-Dixie closed its packing plant in this same facility.

Workers breathed a sigh of relief when Smithfield, one of the world's largest pork producers, took over the establishment. Now, 18 months later, employees are back to the drawing board looking for work.

Valerie Robinson adds "This town is small, not very many jobs, and I guess I have to go out and look for another job."

Workforce Development Board will be working with these individuals to find them jobs and help them get training if they choose another career. Smithfield executives say they hate to leave this rural community, but they had no choice but to close the plant.

City manager Tom Moffses says, "They had an unfavorable quarter results, and the news was put out on Wall Street, and the particular on Smithfield's organization and the high cost of fuel and the market forced the need to regroup."

But that brings little consolation to those who've come to rely on the company for work.

Antonio adds, "It's a good job, an easy job, good paying job, and it's over. That's messed up."

The plant will begin to close over the next 30 days and will be completely shut down by October 31.