Smithfield Foods Hit with Hefty Penalty in North Carolina

A federal jury in North Carolina decided on Friday that Smithfield Foods would have to pay a hefty dollar amount of $473.5 million dollars to neighbors of three of the company’s large hog farms. The neighbors had filed an unreasonable nuisance lawsuit because of odors, flies, and large trucks rumbling down the road. The jury says Smithfield owes the compensation because it failed to stop the “obnoxious, recurrent odors, and the other nuisances caused by the operations.” The North Carolina Pork Council says a decision like this will spread to other states in farm country. The group is calling for an appeal of the decision, saying, “This verdict will spread from North Carolina to all corners of American agriculture.” North Carolina Representative David Rouzer says, “These nuisance lawsuits that are destroying the livelihoods and communities in North Carolina are the tip of the iceberg for what is to come, absent a well-informed public and good public policy.” He calls the lawsuits a slippery slope that threatens every form of American agriculture.