According to Kerns and Associates economist Steve Meyer, the idle capacity of pork processing plants is at 11.3 percent, the lowest number seen in recent weeks. However, progress is starting to slow. “We speculated that the early days of recovery would be effective and then, it would get slower as we progressed. That’s where we’re at. The big double shift plants have struggled, because they have more people, shift changes and not as much cleaning time.” The Smithfield Foods pork plant in Sioux Falls has a capacity of 19,500 head and is now processing 17,000 head. “That plant is older than anything else we have out there and being multi-story, there are a number of reasons why I think that plant is a challenge.”
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