Smithfield Foods, Inc., Smithfield, Va., broke ground on a new $12 million bacon slicing plant at its Cudahy, Wis., facility. The plant is expected to be fully operational by December.

The new 17,000-square-foot plant will include four slicing lines that will increase Smithfield Foods' bacon capacity by approximately 10 million pounds. It will be built in the same area that was destroyed by a fire in July 2009.

"We are very excited about our new facility because it will enhance our competitiveness and help to secure the future of our bacon business and the jobs associated with it," says Daniel Kapella, president of Patrick Cudahy, the packaged meats division.

This announcement comes on the heels of a recent organizational realignment whereby the company unified all of its independent operating companies, brands and marketing, including Patrick Cudahy, under one corporate umbrella.