The proposed $810 million deal is raising concerns about the ability of the hog market to remain competitive. Farm state lawmakers already are speaking out against the deal. Senators Charles Grassley and Tom Harkin, both from Iowa, the nation's leading hog-producing state, have asked the Justice Department to take a close look at the proposed deal. And, the president of the National Farmers Union says it "all but guarantees independent producers will be left without a market."
Meanwhile, Smithfield Foods defends the proposal saying, 'We have strong expertise in both live hog production and in fresh pork processing. Strategically, this is a very good long-term fit and near-term, this combination should generate benefits for both organizations and our customers."
If approved, the deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2007.