Letter – Will Foods move its HQ?

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Who would have guessed that healthy eating would be the potential demise of a 272-year-old town? The recent Smithfield Foods decision to discontinue hams prepared via the six-month, salt-cure technique — and protected by state law — has the potential to do just that. 

Most companies with an $18 billion product portfolio — and with an eye on returning to the U.S. stock market — don’t stay in small, albeit wonderful, places like Smithfield. I expect that by jettisoning the only thing linking Smithfield Foods to Smithfield, Virginia — the iconic Smithfield Ham — we should expect their headquarters to move to a New York City or Chicago or the like.

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Never underestimate the draw of direct flights and exciting environments on human beings! Headquarters for Norfolk Southern and Caterpillar were moved for just those reasons. I hope, for the sake of our wonderful town, that Smithfield Foods stays in place. They have been a tremendous asset and financial supporter of our community. 

I, for one, am not holding my breath that they will remain. Town leaders and planners, I pledge my support to helping us collectively weather the changes in store for Smithfield — even if I’m wrong in my prediction! I hope other readers feel similarly.


Robert Armstrong