Smithfield Packing Company

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Smithfield Packing Company was founded in 1936 by Joseph W. Luter and his son Joseph W. Luter, Jr., in the town of Smithfield along the Pagan River, a tributary of the James River in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, United States, to produce Smithfield hams. [1] Today, Smithfield Packing is a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, Inc., a Fortune 500 company.


The Luter family of Smithfield, Virginia, has been curing and selling hams since the turn of the century. In fact, they are capable of slaughtering 32,000 pigs per day at the Smithfield Packing Company; the biggest slaughterhouse in the world. Joseph W. Luter, Sr.'s first job was at a local meat packing plant. His young son, Joseph W. Luter, Jr., followed in his father's footsteps, learning every phase of the meat packing industry. And eventually persuading him to start their own business - Smithfield Packing Company was chartered in 1936.

In 1962, with Smithfield already on its way to becoming the "Ham Capital of the World", Joseph W. Luter III became the company's leader. Expanding the plant's facilities and product line became the key to a growth cycle that promoted Smithfield Packing Company from a family business into a large, investor-owned and publicly traded company.

Today Smithfield Packing has become a worldwide marketer of pork products, the largest subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, Inc., and one of America's largest meat companies, located at Tar Heel, North Carolina, USA, and built in 1992. Joseph W. Luter IV, became president of Smithfield Packing in 2004 after having served as an executive vice president of the parent company. He was succeeded as president by Timothy Schellpeper in April 2008.

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