Congratulations Cecil County on your recent landing of the Smithfield Distribution Center in Cecil County. The reporting of this activity and the corresponding economic development assistance refers to this as a Virginia-based company founded over 90 years ago.
This is incorrect. Nowhere in the reporting does it state the truth that this is now a Chinese-owned company. In 2013, the WH Group, then known as Shuanghui International Holdings Limited, the largest Chinese meat producer, acquired Smithfield Foods for $4.72 billion.
Cecil County now seems to be in the business of supporting the Chinese agricultural economy instead working to ensure that local farmers and agricultural enterprises are able to succeed in Cecil County.
The ongoing saga of the Horst poultry operation opposition is a disgrace. Agriculture is very important to the Cecil County economy and to allow a local group of environmental zealots to continually challenge existing approvals will only hurt Cecil County's reputation as an ag-friendly county. Hopefully the judge who hears this most recent administrative challenge will see the absurdity of this recent challenge and throw the case out. The Horsts could have chosen to establish their operation 4 miles north across the line in Pennsylvania and would have had approval in a short time and have been able to be in production for over a year now.
Maryland is already in the news for the most environmentally unfriendly and restrictive state in the country. The regulations for environmental protection from ag operations is already the top in the nation. Let’s not allow Cecil County to make national news as being unfriendly to ag.
Let us not work so hard to support the Chinese ag economy, but pay more attention to supporting our local agricultural producers and the positive impact these businesses have on Cecil County.