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The announced closing of Smithfield’s Sioux Falls meatpacking plant due to a COVID-19 outbreak affecting over 600 workers is a vivid example of the vulnerability of a highly concentrated meat production system that exploits farmers, workers and rural communities, said family farm groups based in four Midwest states.

The groups based in South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri criticized the factory farm system that feeds into giant Midwest pork processing plants, which have driven out small and mid-sized meat processing plants, undercut independent producers and increased water pollution throughout the region.