Smithfield Closing/Job Fair Scheduled

Community leaders are now gearing up to help residents find employment and lure businesses to the rural area.

Amid the clouds and sunny skies an economic storm is brewing in Madison County, forcing residents to seek shelter from the heat of losing some 486 jobs in the rural community.

Bill Howard says, "You're looking at an economy blow of about $50 million. That sounds like it’s far fetched, but when you figure the roll down of the people involved, it's astronomical for the region the size of Madison."

But community leaders are taking steps to find jobs for residents who will be laid off in the coming months.

"Chamber of Commerce will be working with Enterprise Florida to trying and bring companies here that will employ those folks who work at Smithfield Packing."

In addition, the Madison County Development Council Board will be looking to area employers to hire a pool of qualified applicants.

Ed Meggs added, "We'll bring them in from south Georgia, north Florida. Anyone in our general area where it's traveling to and from Madison to find employment will be convenient and not too expensive for our folks to drive that far."

Smithfield has opted to consolidate operations. Now some 400 workers are hoping other employers will open the door of opportunity for them in the coming months.

Plant will be completely shut down by October 31. The Workforce Development Board will host a job fair in mid July.