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Top 9 Meat Packing Plants in the U.S.

Posted by IndustrySelect on Friday, December 4, 2020

woman processes chicken in factory


Meatpacking plants fall under the agricultural sector in the U.S. economy. The sector as a whole contributed more than $1 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product in 2019. The food manufacturing portion accounted for 2 million jobs, with meat and poultry manufacturing comprising about 1/3 of these positions.

Know your Market


Between the trade war with China and the trade negotiations with Mexico, the American meatpacking industry has suffered several blows. At the end of 2017, the U.S. was the largest meat exporter, with exports totaling $16.3 billion. Prior to the trade war with China, the American meat industry suffered a 12% import duty that rose to 62% as a result of broken negotiations.

In 2018, Mexico retaliated against tariffs that the U.S. had imposed on Mexican steel products with a 20% tariff on U.S. pork products, costing the industry to lose about $1.5 billion. At the same time, China canceled a pork order for 3,247 metric tons.


The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted all economic sectors, including the meatpacking industry. With the closure of retail establishments, the industry needed to shift from packaging for the food service industry where demand was extremely low to packing for the retail industry.

At the same time, the meatpacking industry needed to retool internal operations in light of the highly contagious nature of the virus. Plants could not simply close as they were a vital industry. Thus, they responded by including enhanced cleansing features such as more frequent and thorough cleaning of common areas. Many plants also installed Plexiglas barriers between workers and mandated masks. Some plants, in order to comply with the 6-foot distancing regulation, began working in staggered shifts so that social distancing could be maintained.

Meatpacking Industry Statistics

According to data collected by MNI, the U.S. meatpacking industry accounts for 2,276 companies nationwide, employing 200,522 individuals. Last year, only 193,708 individuals worked in the meatpacking industry, representing a year-over-year increase in employment of 3.52%.

The most recent sales figures in meatpacking average $147,460,599,935, with 90% of the finished product distributed domestically. Manufacturing as the whole relies on only 70% of domestic distribution.

Regionally, the Midwest holds the highest concentration of meatpacking manufacturers, at 45% of the total. The Southern region follows at a distant second with 28% of the total number of meatpacking manufacturers. The Northeast and the West trail with 11% and 16% respectively.

Top U.S. Meatpacking Plants

Below is a list of the largest U.S. meatpacking facilities based on number of employees. 

CompanyCityState Number of Employees
Smithfield Foods, Inc.Tar HeelNC5,000
Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc.AmarilloTX4,200
Tyson Fresh MeatsAmarilloTX4,000
Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc.Dakota CityNE4,000
Cargill, Inc.WayzataMN3,500
JBSGrand IslandNE3,500
JBS USAGreeleyCO3,200
Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc.HolcombKS3,100
National Beef Packing Co., LLCDodge CityKS3,000

About the Top Meatpacking Plants

Smithfield Foods, Inc., located in Tar Heel, North Carolina, safely employs 5,000 individuals. The company’s aggressive COVID-19 response revolves around keeping their employees safe and securing America’s food supply chain. Smithfield’s commitment to its employees involves recognizing the efforts of one man who received an award for his supply chain initiatives that enabled the company to benefit operationally, economically and sustainably.

Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. calls Amarillo, Texas home. The company’s 4,200 employees continue to uphold the core values developed by its founder during the Great Depression – to provide a quality, 100% natural product. Pioneers of poultry supply chain management since the 1960s, Tyson continues the tradition with the Tyson Discovery Center. Here, the company anticipates food trends, creating products to meet customers' culinary needs.

Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. in Dakota City, Nebraska employs 4,000 individuals to prepare various packaged products such as fresh chicken, pre-seasoned chicken, meal kits and a number of frozen chicken products.

Cargill, Inc. lists its primary mission as the health and safety of its 3,500 employees and the customers they serve during the COVID-19 pandemic. Partnering with global health experts, Cargill continually upgrades its Wayzata, Minnesota facility to protect its employees and the community at large, including a disaster relief fund to help employees adversely impacted by the pandemic.

JBS in Grand Island, Nebraska and its 3,500 workers produce 1855® and Swift® beef products for domestic use and export to Japan, Hong Kong, Mexico, China and other countries. True to JBS’s community commitment, associates are involved in the local United Way and other community benefits.

JBS in Cactus, Texas and its 3,450 associates focus on quality beef manufacturing for 80% domestic and 20% export use. This facility primarily produces the Swift® brand beef products. And just like the Nebraska branch, employees here are also involved in the local United Way and other community programs.

JBS USA in Greeley, Colorado employs 3,200 individuals. This facility also focuses on beef manufacturing, exporting over 30% of its final product to more than 20 different countries worldwide. This facility also participates in community benefit programs.

Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. also has a plant located in Holcomb, Kansas. Its 3,100 employees are part of the world’s largest food processing company. As such, Tyson takes sustainability seriously, exploring new avenues of responsible growth to meet the needs of the world’s population.

National Beef Packing Co., LLC, housed in Dodge City, Kansas, is one of the company’s highest-volume plants in the world. The facility’s 3,000 employees only process family-raised, corn-fed Black Angus beef for the meatpacking industry.

Are you looking for industrial sales leads in the meatpacking, food processing or any other type of industry? IndustrySelect provides comprehensive profiles of 500,000 industrial companies and one million executives, including meatpacking companies. Powered by MNI, trusted industrial data compiler since 1912,  company profiles are verfied and updated in real time by a 80-person research team. See a sample profile

To learn more about how you can use IndustrySelect to generate reliable sales leads for your company, visit our website and try out a free demo.

Looking for suppliers of food products? Search, source & quote suppliers for free on IndustryNet.


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