Smithfield Foods Inc. announced that it will begin its previously announced shutdown of its Portsmouth, Va., facility that makes hot dogs and deli meat. The layoffs will begin in January, and the plant will close at the end of March, reports the Associated Press.

The first layoffs at the Smithfield Packing Co. facility will involve about 120 workers, with more than 400 workers affected by the time plant is closed, said Jeff Gough, Smithfield’s senior vice president for human resources. Employees have been offered transfer opportunities.

The company had announced last November that it was moving production from Portsmouth to its plant in Kinston, N.C. The Virginia plant was built in the 1970s, and the company said it could not support the manufacturing technology changes and product development necessary to meet the company’s needs.

Smithfield will bring a new $80 million state-of-the-art hot dog plant online in its fiscal fourth quarter next spring.

Source: Associated Press