Smithfield Foods has broken ground on a new $12 million bacon slicing plant at its Cudahy, Wisconsin facility. The plant is expected to be fully operational by December 2015.

The new 17,000-square-foot plant will include four slicing lines that will increase Smithfield Foods' bacon capacity by approximately 10 million pounds. The new plant will be built in the same area that was destroyed by a fire in July 2009.

"We are very excited about our new facility because it will enhance our competitiveness and help to secure the future of our bacon business and the jobs associated with it," said Daniel Kapella, president of Patrick Cudahy, Smithfield Foods Packaged Meats Division. Initially, the new plant is not expected to require additional employment.

"Smithfield Foods' new plant in Cudahy represents not only a significant investment in our community, but also emphasizes the company's ongoing commitment to our economic development," said Cudahy Mayor John Hohenfeldt.

This development of the plant is part of Smithfield's continued emphasis on growing its branded packaged meats business and comes on the heels of a recent organizational realignment whereby the company has unified all its independent operating companies, brands and marketing, including Patrick Cudahy, under one corporate umbrella.