Meat company Smithfield's subsidiary Farmland Foods has announced it will be moving forward on a $19m project for the acquisition and expansion of the distribution centre next to its Crete pork processing facility. 

The project is expected to add 120 new jobs. The Crete facility currently employs 1,872 workers producing fresh pork, hams, bacon and sausage.

Construction already is underway on a 122,000-square-foot addition to the existing warehouse currently serving the processing facility.   Once the project is completed, Farmland will utilize the expanded facility as the western distribution centre for the entire Farmland Foods system. When completed in April 2006, the new facility will process all Farmland product being shipped west.

"Our new warehouse will bring more efficient handling, storage and distribution to our system," said Todd Gerken, general manager of the Crete plant.  "This facility will give us the ability to manage inventory to meet customer needs for both fresh and frozen products.  "We'll ship product more effectively.  That means quicker, more efficient service at less cost.  It's good news for our customers, which is in turn good for us."

"We are pleased that Farmland Foods is making a significant investment in its Crete operation, which greatly benefits our community's economic well-being," said Mayor Judy Henning. "Farmland has been a good corporate citizen and we look forward to the company's continued success."