SMITHFIELD, VA. — To meet the growing demand for bacon and ground seasoned pork, Smithfield Foods, Inc. is investing nearly $45 million to expand its Sioux Falls, S.D., pork processing operations. The investment, which will add 70 new jobs, includes renovating a high-speed bacon line, a ground seasoned pork operation and the distribution center, as well as rebuilding a facility that houses more than 8,000 hogs.

“At Smithfield, we’re committed to our continual investment in our facilities and farms in Sioux Falls,” said Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods. “In the past five years, we have invested more than $73 million into our operations in South Dakota, which positively impacts the local economy. With these new projects, we’re proud to further strengthen our presence in this state.”

Smithfield is upgrading its bacon equipment to include high-speed lines, which will improve volume, yield and quality of the bacon, Smithfield said. The renovations are on track to be completed by May 2019.

Updates to the ground seasoned pork operations include renovating the existing distribution center, which is on schedule to be completed by March 2019. The renovated facility will bolster Smithfield’s ability to support increased demand by export markets, the company said, and will feature the latest technology for automated packaging, boxing, labeling and stacking.

“Export markets are key for the continued growth of all U.S. hog producers and pork processors,” said Jason Richter, president of the international group for Smithfield Foods. “This new project further positions the company to meet the demands of consumers in these key markets, benefitting our national and local economies, including creating new jobs in Sioux Falls.”

Additionally, Smithfield is renovating its hog barn to reflect leading animal handling practices, including automatic climate control systems, the company said. The hog barn is set to be complete in early fall 2019.

The 70 new jobs created by Smithfield’s investment will join nearly 3,600 others at Smithfield’s Sioux Falls facility, which was built in 1909 and produces fresh pork, ready-to-cook bacon, deli meats, hot dogs and smoked hams.