The largest privately held company in the United States will soon become a little smaller, as Minneapolis-based Cargill plans to sell its pork business to Brazilian meat producer JBS’ USA Pork division.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the deal is worth $1.45 billion and includes two meat processing plants in Iowa and Illinois, along with five feed mills in Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa and Texas. It also includes four hog farms in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
The Wall Street Journal also reported on July 1:
News of the deal comes as the U.S. pork industry has been buffeted by sharp swings in supply. Hog and pork prices have fallen dramatically this year, reflecting an unexpectedly strong recovery in the U.S. swine herd from the effects of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or PEDv, which killed millions of pigs last year, sending prices for meat and livestock to record highs.
The number of hogs processed for pork in the week ended Friday was over 12% larger than the same time in 2014, and production is up 6.4% so far this year, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune also reported on Cargill selling its pork unit.
According to the Star Tribune, Cargill’s fresh pork operation employs 5,100 people, mostly in Iowa and Illinois. The deal with JBS USA Pork is still subject to regulatory review and approval.
While JBS may be large, it’s not quite a household name in the United States, yet.
Harvest Public Media and Iowa Public Radio profiled the foreign meat producer in its recent story “Inside JBS, The World’s Largest Food Company You’ve Probably Never Heard of.”