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Beaver County declares state of economic emergency due to Smithfield Foods downsizing

Posted at 3:08 PM, Jun 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-11 17:08:17-04

MILFORD, Utah — A state of economic emergency has been declared in Beaver County.

Concerns are rising after Smithfield Foods, the county's largest employer and one of the largest hog operations in the nation, announced that it is downsizing.

"I think it's bigger than us. It's bigger than Beaver County. I think it's bigger than Utah," said a member of the Board of Beaver County Commissioners.

The Board of Beaver County Commissioners declared a "local state of economic emergency" Friday in an emergency meeting.

The board said the company's issue doesn't stem from within Utah.

"Smithfield Foods has announced that part of the problem is the regulations imposed by the state of California, in the processing plant located in California," a member of the board said.

Gov. Spencer Cox is now stepping into the conversation. A member of the board said they spoke with him Friday, and the governor said he called U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Leaders on the local levels are about the potential wave of hardship this move by the company could bring.

"I deeply empathize with those fellow employees, their families, the contractors, their families," Beaver City Mayor Matt Robinson said in Friday's meeting. "All of the affected businesses."

During this state of emergency, the board is calling on all municipal, state and national governments and organizations to help the county by providing resources to maintain operations.