Clemens to build new pork facility in Pennsylvania

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pigs in a nursery
Pigs peer out of their pen in the Stateler's nursery facility, in McComb, Ohio, June 10. The Statelers raise thousands of hogs for Hord Family Farms as contract growers. The pigs are processed by Clemens Food Group. (Rachel Wagoner photo)

A pork processor in southeastern Pennsylvania will expand its operations in part thanks to a grant from the state.

Clemens Food Group received a $2.5 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to help build a new smoked meats facility in Montgomery County.

The company is putting more than $228 million into the project, which will create 87 new, full-time jobs over the next three years.

The grant funding helped Clemens decide to stay in Pennsylvania for its new facility that will be built in Hatfield, Pennsylvania.

“We’d like to thank the DCED for the grant that has enabled us to expand our operations in PA instead of elsewhere,” said Leslie Wheeling, director of corporate affairs for Clemens. “That way, we’ve been able to retain and grow jobs right here in Pennsylvania.”

Clemens Food Group is a vertically integrated pork operation that works with more than 250 farms in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and Indiana. It has processing facilities in Hatfield and Emmaus, Pennsylvania, and Coldwater, Michigan.

In a press conference announcing the expansion, state officials, lawmakers and others also celebrated Clemens charitable donations to Pennsylvania’s food banks. The company donated around 4 million pounds of pork to Feeding Pennsylvania food banks this year.

Jane Clements-Smith, executive director of Feeding Pennsylvania, the state’s network of food banks, said that Clemens helped them in a time of great need last spring. Its network of 2,700 food banks and food pantries typically serve around 2 million people a year. It served 5 million in the first three months of the pandemic, Clement-Smith said.

Panic buying caused food shortages that also made it difficult for food banks to get their hands on food. 

“During the height of the pandemic, we received several truckloads of pork that was delivered to food banks around the commonwealth,” Clements-Smith said.

The project is set to break ground later in February.

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Rachel is a reporter with Farm and Dairy and a graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She married a fourth-generation beef and sheep farmer and settled down in her hometown in Beaver County. Before coming to Farm and Dairy, she worked at several daily and weekly newspapers throughout Western Pennsylvania covering everything from education and community news to police and courts.

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