Joseph W. Luter, III, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods, Inc. (NYSE: SFD - news) today issued the following statement: "Smithfield Foods is having an extremely strong first quarter. This strength in earnings is the result of our vertical integration strategy. As a result, I fully expect the Company will report at least a five-fold increase in earnings per share over the comparable period last year."Smithfield Foods reported fully diluted earnings per share of $.15 in the first quarter of fiscal year 2000. The Company's first quarter ends July 30, 2000.