KANSAS CITY (B)--FDL Foods, a subsidiary of farm cooperative Farmland Industries, ceased operations and closed its plant in Dubuque, IA, on June 9 upon sale of the property to Smithfield Foods.

Smithfield exercised an option to purchase the Iowa property recently with the closing date as of June 9.

Farmland expects to wind down its sausage processing operation at the facility within the next 30 days and will retain about 140 workers for the process under a lease agreement with Smithfield. However, Friday will be the last day of work for most of the rest of the plant's 1,200 workers, the Kansas City-based cooperative said.

Farmland, the nation's largest farmer-owned cooperative, announced an agreement to sell the property in late March because it did not fit into the company's long-term strategy.

"This action is the first step in an overall plan to strengthen our pork operations," said Bill Fielding, president of Farmland Refrigerated Foods, in the Thursday press release.

Pork processing giant Smithfield has indicated it will discontinue the hog kill and spend about $10 million expanding and refurbishing the meat-processing unit.

Farmland, meanwhile, has indicated it plans to upgrade its facility in Crete, NE, to absorb the nearly 8,000 hogs killed at the Iowa plant.

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