UPDATE 1-China has resumed buying U.S. pork – Smithfield

* China buying pork other than “muscle” cuts

* Purchase orders received this week.

* Smithfield says will not expand hog herd.
(Recasts, adds company comments)

By Bob Burgdorfer

NEW YORK, May 19 (BestGrowthStock) – China has begun buying U.S.
pork again — not the hams and pork chops popular in the West,
but internal organs and other parts that appeal to the Eastern
palate, Smithfield Foods Inc (SFD.N: ) officials said on
Wednesday.

And the company will not be expanding its hog herd now that
hog prices are profitable again, Smithfield Chief Executive
Larry Pope said at the BMO Capital Markets Agriculture
Conference.

Smithfield Foods is the largest U.S. hog and pork producer
and a major exporter of pork.

China last week lifted a year-long ban on U.S. pork, but at
that time the U.S. Agriculture Department said there had been
no new sales to China. Smithfield said the latest purchases did
not involve large quantities.

China had banned U.S. pork amid concerns about H1N1 flu,
commonly called swine flu. While the flu was not found in U.S.
hogs and is not transmitted by pork, human cases of the flu
prompted the ban.

“We have now the first POs (purchase orders) in hand for
new Chinese business. Those shipments are being prepared,”
Robert Manly, chief financial officer, said during a
presentation at the BMO Capital Markets Agricultural
Conference.

HOG HERD WILL NOT INCREASE

Hog prices are up sharply this year due in part to a much
smaller hog herd, the result of producers shrinking herds after
two years of losses.

Pope said Smithfield will not increase its herd and said
there may be additional reductions because of productivity
gains on some of its farms.

“We have absolutely no plans to expand any of our sow
herd,” he said.

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(Reporting by Bob Burgdorfer; editing by Jim Marshall)

UPDATE 1-China has resumed buying U.S. pork – Smithfield