Smithfield Foods, Inc., Smithfield, Va., and Kansas City Sausage, LLC, Kansas City, Mo., announced construction of a $44.8 million, 90,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art sausage plant in Sampson County, N.C. The project represents the 50/50 joint venture between Smithfield and Kansas City Sausage, and is expected to create 177 new jobs. 

The plant will produce 50 million pounds of pork sausage annually and will be a comprehensive operation—from live animal harvest through finished product shipping—processing between 700 to 1,000 sows a day.

"We formed Kansas City Sausage in 2013 as part of our strategy to expand into the $4 billion breakfast and dinner sausage categories. This new facility is an essential part of that strategy and also underscores our commitment to broaden our product offerings through a focus on our customers, brands, products and geographic footprint," says C. Larry Pope, president and CEO of Smithfield. "We are happy to see this part of our growth strategy continuing to take shape, and are also proud to announce additions to our workforce."

The joint venture will construct the new production facility at the site of the former Martins Abattoir & Wholesale Meats in northwest Sampson County, which was purchased by Kansas City Sausage in April 2014. Demolition of the existing plant will begin immediately, with construction of the new facility expected to be completed by June 2016.

"The new Kansas City Sausage operation will have a positive impact on the local economy from the moment we break ground," says Justin Hanlon, chief executive officer of Kansas City Sausage. "Besides our investment in construction and the new workforce, we will contribute to increased demand for local hog production."