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AMI Honors Joseph W. Luter, III, Chairman of Smithfield Foods, Inc., With Industry Advancement Award

Friday, October 26, 2007

Joseph W. Luter, III, chairman of Smithfield Foods, Inc., was honored today by the American Meat Institute (AMI) with its highest award: the Industry Advancement Award. The award was presented during AMI’s International Meat, Poultry & Seafood Convention & Exposition, October 24-27, 2007, in Chicago, Ill.

Luter is the third generation of his family to run the business created by his grandfather in 1936. Named president in 1966, he left the company when it was acquired in 1969. During the five years that Joe Luter was out of the meat industry he developed Bryce Mountain Resort, a four season resort community in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

After six years of operating without him, the new owners asked Luter to return in 1975 to help turn the distressed company around, in what AMI and CEO President J. Patrick Boyle noted as “a very…very good move.”

“With Joe’s charismatic determination, he remade his family country ham business into the global company that it is today,” Boyle said.

In the last ten years Smithfield has aggressively moved internationally with operations in Mexico, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Romania, the UK and China.

Luter was the industry’s earliest embracer of vertical integration — a strategy that has proven successful for Smithfield and has been emulated by increasing numbers of pork packers. “His ability to acquire and turn around failing businesses has helped enhance United States competitiveness,” noted Boyle.

In addition, he has an unwavering commitment to those who have helped his company achieve success. Luter personally funded a $5 million start-up grant to launch the Smithfield-Luter Foundation. Through this foundation he has helped fund countless college scholarships for the children of Smithfield employees.

“Joe Luter embodies everything this award is meant to be about; he is pioneer, a leader and great contributor at all levels of our industry,” Boyle said.

The American Meat Institute was founded in 1906 and is the nation's oldest and largest meat and poultry trade association. It represents the interests of packers, processors, and suppliers of beef, pork, lamb, veal, and turkey products in North America. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Institute provides regulatory, legislative, technical, scientific, educational, and public relations services to the industry.

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