updated 3/9/2011 9:46:27 AM ET 2011-03-09T14:46:27

SMITHFIELD, Va., March 9, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Smithfield Foods, Inc. (NYSE:SFD) announced today that its Board of Directors has elected two new members, Richard T. Crowder, Professor of International Trade at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and Margaret G. Lewis, President of HCA's Capital Division, effective March 9, 2011.

In addition, the company said that Gaoning Ning has resigned as a member of the company's Board of Directors, effective March 2, 2011. Mr. Ning advised the company that he would resign as director due to an increasing number of other conflicting business and public commitments. Mr. Ning is the chairman of COFCO Limited, China's largest national agricultural trading and processing company.

"We are excited to welcome Dick and Margaret to the Board. I am confident that Smithfield will benefit from the vast experience and valuable insights of these two established leaders, as we continue to grow this company," said C. Larry Pope, president and chief executive officer.

"We would like to thank Mr. Ning for his service as a board member for the past two and a half years and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors," continued Mr. Pope. "As the leading consumer of pork, China remains an important export market for Smithfield and we look forward to continuing to foster our relationship with COFCO. We maintain a positive outlook for U.S. pork exports and foresee many future business opportunities for Smithfield and China," he commented.

Richard Crowder is a Professor of International Trade at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. From January 2006 until May 2007, he served as chief agriculture negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, responsible for directing all U.S. agricultural trade negotiations worldwide, including multilateral negotiations in the World Trade Organization, as well as regional and bilateral negotiations. He also served as a senior advisor to the U.S. Trade Representative from May 2007 until April 2008.

Margaret Lewis is president of HCA's Capital Division, which includes facilities in northern, central and southwestern Virginia, New Hampshire, Indiana and Kentucky. She began her career with HCA in 1978 and held several positions in nursing management and quality management before becoming Chief Nursing Officer of HCA's Richmond Division in 1997. Mrs. Lewis became Chief Operating Officer of CJW Medical Center in 1998 and Chief Executive Officer in 2001. She is a registered nurse and a diplomat of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

About Smithfield Foods

Smithfield Foods is the world's largest pork processor and hog producer, with revenues exceeding $11 billion in fiscal 2010. In the United States, the company is also the leader in numerous packaged meats categories. From national brands and regional powerhouses in the United States to some of the best-known European brands, Smithfield Foods products are prized by retail, foodservice, and deli customers alike. For more information, please visit www.smithfieldfoods.com .

The Smithfield Foods, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=7622

CONTACT: Keira Lombardo
         Smithfield Foods, Inc.
         (757) 365-3050

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