Iconic Former Farmer John Processing Plant in Vernon, California, Meets the Wrecking Ball

Jan. 5, 2024
Smithfield Foods shut the plant down 11 months ago and sold the land over the summer to an industrial property business, which is tearing the facility down.

Nearly a year after it was shut down by Smithfield Foods, the iconic — and sometimes controversial with the neighbors and animal activists — former Farmer John processing plant in Vernon, Calif., is meeting the ultimate demise via the wrecking ball, according to a local news report.

Smithfield announced in June 2022 that it would close the facility, citing the high cost of operating the plant as the primary reason, and did shutter the plant in February 2023. The plant was opened in 1931 and became iconic as much for the pastoral agricultural murals painted on its exterior, street-facing walls, as it did for its production of the beloved “Dodger Dog” served at the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Major League Baseball games.

It also withstood high-profile activist protests given its proximity to Hollywood and the celebrities that occasionally joined animal welfare causes, as well as harsh criticism from neighbors for unpleasant odors that were pinned on the plant’s production and emissions.

The news report stated that the land was purchased by global industrial property firm Goodman Group in the summer of 2023.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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