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Smithfield Buying Farmer John

Smithfield Foods, Inc. announced today it has begun the process to acquire Clougherty Packing LLC from Hormel Foods Corporation. Through this agreement, which is expected to be complete within a month pending closing conditions and regulatory approvals, Smithfield will add the Farmer John and Saag’s Specialty Meats brands to its lineup as well as two processing facilities and three farms (with about 30,000 sows total) to its operations.

“By folding Farmer John into our operations, we are better positioned to take advantage of our long-term strategic growth goals, which includes an increasingly diversified customer and consumer base and greater supply chain efficiency,” said Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and CEO of Smithfield Foods. “As we continue this transition and expand our operations, we are proud to welcome these new West Coast employees into our growing Smithfield family.”

Clougherty Packing LLC is based in southern California and is a leading integrated producer and processor of a full line of branded pork products. Founded in 1931, Farmer John is the No. 1 bacon and sausage brand in southern California. Saag’s Specialty Meats is a premium brand of deli meat and specialty sausage made without any artificial flavors, colors, fillers, extenders, or MSG.

Along with two California-based processing facilities, Smithfield will acquire three PFFJ LLC farms located in Arizona, California, and Wyoming. The purchase will bring Smithfield’s total sow count in the U.S. to about 910,000. 

The purchase price for Clougherty Packing LLC is $145 million, pending capital adjustments at closing. 

Farmer John harvests approximately 7,400 hogs per day and, in fiscal 2016, the businesses accounted for approximately $500 million in sales, reported Hormel.

“While the businesses have performed well, they no longer align with our company’s growth strategies,” said Jim Snee, president and chief executive officer. “This divestiture also allows for the integration of the pork processing facility at Farmer John with the majority of the live production operations that supply the facility, and are currently owned by Smithfield. We will work together to ensure a smooth transition for our employees and customers.”

Hormel still owns a Colorado sow system. It has capacity for about 25,000 sows, but the company has been doing a herd health cleanup and a group sow conversion, so the farm has about 22,000 sows currently.


Farmer John (song)

"Farmer John" is a song written by Don "Sugarcane" Harris and Dewey Terry, and first recorded by the two as the American R&B duo Don and Dewey, in 1959. Although the original version of the composition did not receive much attention, it was reinvigorated by the garage rock band the Premiers, whose raving cover version was released in 1964. The song's raw and partying atmosphere was immensely popular, reaching number 19 on the Billboard Hot 100. Following the group's national success, several additional interpretations of "Farmer John" were released, making the tune a classic of garage rock.

In 1965, Swedish rock band Hep Stars released a version of "Farmer John" that reached number one on the Swedish sales charts.

Original version[edit]

Don and Dewey penned "Farmer John", a simplistic tune about marrying a farmer's daughter, in early 1959, and first recorded their original rendition in January 1959.[1] The duo's R&B song was much more subdued than the Premiers' later interpretation, with hushed trumpet instrumentals providing backdrop to Don and Dewey's vocal harmonies. It was released as a single in February 1959 on Specialty Records; however, the song did not receive much attention and failed to chart.[2] "Farmer John", along with a number of the pair's material including "I'm Leaving It Up to You" and "Big Boy Pete", was recognized only when another artist covered the song.[3]

The Premiers version[edit]

Featuring brothers Lawrence Perez on lead guitar and John Perez on drums, the Premiers were established as many garage rock bands were, practicing in their garage. The group had the opportunity to record "Farmer John" when the mother of the brothers arranged an audition with record producer Billy Cardenas, who was instrumental in promoting several Chicano groups.[4] As Lawrence Perez recalled, Cardenas recommended to the Premiers to cover "Farmer John", saying "He wanted to do it more East L.A.-style, or 'Louie Louie'-type. At the time, the 'Louie Louie'-type rhythm and sound was happening, so we tried to base the beat and sound towards that".[5] As it so happens, "Louie Louie", had like "Farmer John" begun as a single released by a Los Angeles-based African-American R&B musical act (in this case Richard Berry), before the Kingsmen's classic rendition propelled to number two on the Billboard Hot 100. For that reason, the Premiers' cover was marked by the same kind of unpolished adolescence that garnered the Kingsmen national success.[5][6]

Although the band is credited with recording the song live at the Rhythm Room in Fullerton, California on the single's label, the Premiers actually entered Stereo Masters Studios in Hollywood to record "Farmer John". Cardenas delivers the unusual spoken word intro asking if anyone has seen "Kosher Pickle Harry", before the song breaks into a simplistic, but catchy, three-chord melody.[7] The key to closely resembling a live performance of "Farmer John" was supplied by members of the all-girl Chevelles Car Club, who provided the majority of the vibrant audience noise. Co-producer Eddie Davis, quoted in The West Coast East Side Sound, Volume 3compilation album, recollected "We had a party at the studio and had all the kids come down. Everybody was having a good time and we put the record on – in those days they had three-track recording – and while everybody was having a party we recorded the crowd on top of it".[8] This live party sound was employed by Cardenas and Davis on an earlier recording, the Blendells cover of Little Stevie Wonder's "La La La La La," which reached number 62 on the national charts in 1964.[5]

"Farmer John" was originally released on Davis's independent record label, Faro Records, but was soon licensed by Warner Bros. Records, and distributed nationally in September 1964. It became the Premiers one and only Top 40 single, as it charted at number 19 on the Billboard Hot 100.[9] In the following month, the band appeared on the television program American Bandstand, where Dick Clark announced that the group would be featured on his Caravan of Stars national tour.[10] An alternate version of the song, which appears on the Premiers only album, Farmer John Live!, features crowd sounds that nearly drown out the vocals. Though further success eluded the group, "Farmer John" had become a staple in the repertoire of numerous garage rock bands, inspiring cover versions of the tune over the years.[11] In 1972, the composition was included on the well-known compilation Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965–1968.[12]


  • Lawrence Perez – lead guitar
  • John Perez – drums, vocals
  • George Delgado – rhythm guitar, vocals
  • Frank Zuniga – bass guitar
  • Tony Duran – saxophone

Chart positions[edit]

Hep Stars version[edit]

Swedish rock band Hep Stars recorded "Farmer John" as a single in late 1964.[15] The band most likely did not derive their rendition of the song from The Premiers, which, despite being a sizable hit in the US, did not chart in Sweden. They presumably got their inspiration from British beat group the Searchers, who had recorded the track for their debut album Meet The Searchers in 1963.[16] Both covers are extremely similar to each other, with both featuring the drum-roll intro along with the distinct harmonies and vocalizations not found on the Premiers version.[17] Although the rendition heavily relies on the Searchers version of the track, the Hep Stars heard it through a Finnish rock band first before listening to other versions.[18] The Hep Stars version is notably much more quicker and raw than both previous counterparts.[18]

"Farmer John" originates in one consequtive six-hour recording session in late December 1964 when they cut three singles, "A Tribute to Buddy Holly", "Summertime Blues" and "Farmer John" along with their respective B-Sides, "Bird Dog", "If You Need Me" and "Donna".[19] However, none of these tracks would be issued for another approximately three months, with the exception of "A Tribute to Buddy Holly" which was released in February of that year.[20] "A Tribute To Buddy Holly" first failed to garner any attention, but after an appearance on Swedish television show Drop-In on March 23, 1965, it quickly rose through the charts, peaking at number five on Kvällstoppen.[21] Following this, Olga Records rush-released three singles simultaneously in late March 1965, those being "Summertime Blues", "Farmer John" and their rendition of "Brand New Cadillac", retitled "Cadillac" which had been recorded in February of that year.[22]

"Farmer John" entered Kvällstoppen on April 27, at a position of number 10.[23] The following week it entered the top-5, at number 5.[23] It slowly progressed up the charts the following week, reaching number 4.[23] The week after it reached number 2.[23] On May 25, it had reached number 1, a position it held for 4 consecutive weeks before being replaced by "Bring It On Home to Me" by the Animals on June 22.[24] It exited the top-5 on July 6, and left the top-10 on the 20th.[23] It was last seen on August 24 at a position of 20, but later re-entered the chart four weeks later at number 18 for a week.[23] In total, the single spent 19 weeks on Kvällstoppen, of which 12 were in the top-10, 9 were in the top-5 and 4 were at number 1.[23] It fared similarly well on Tio I Topp as well, spending 12 weeks on that chart, reaching number one.[25]

Bruce Eder of AllMusic describes the song as a pale imitation of the Premiers original, but a satisfaction for their home-grown audience.[26] Although not issued on an album, it is featured on the 1996 remaster of the group's debut album We and Our Cadillac.[27] A live version was featured on their 1965 live album Hep Stars On Stage.[28]


  • Svenne Hedlund – lead vocals
  • Christer Pettersson – drums, backing vocals
  • Janne Frisk – guitar, backing vocals
  • Benny Andersson – keyboards
  • Lennart Hegland – bass guitar

Chart positions[edit]

Other versions[edit]


  1. ^Vera, Bill (1991), Jungle Hop (CD booklet), Specialty Records
  2. ^Sieger, John. "Sieger on Songs". Retrieved December 13, 2015.
  3. ^Dahl, Bill. "Don & Dewey – Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
  4. ^Bush, John. "The Premiers – Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  5. ^ abcUnterberger, Richie. "LINER NOTES FOR THE PREMIERS' FARMER JOHN". Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  6. ^Kaye, Lenny (1998), Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965–1968 (CD booklet), Rhino Records
  7. ^Planer, Lindsay. "Farmer John Review". AllMusic. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  8. ^Sarabande, Varese (1999), The West Coast East Side Sound, Volume 3 (CD booklet), Saranbe Records
  9. ^Guerrero, Mark. "1960s Chicano Rock Hit Makers". Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  10. ^Guerro, Mark. "Fifty Years Of 'Farmer John': A Hit That Opened The Door For Chicano Rock". Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  11. ^"The Premiers – Farmer John Live!". Hispanic News. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  12. ^Reid, Graham (December 14, 2012). "Various Artists, Nuggets Remastered". NZ Herald. NZ Herald News. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  13. ^Hoffmann, Frank W.; Hoffmann, Lee Ann (1983). The Cash Box Singles Charts, 1950–1981. Scarecrow Press. ISBN .
  14. ^"The Hot 100 Chart". Billboard. Retrieved June 21, 2020.
  15. ^"The Hep Stars – Farmer John". Retrieved June 21, 2020.
  16. ^Tobler, John (2012). Abba – Uncensored on the Record. Coda Books Ltd. ISBN .
  17. ^"Sixties Brit pop: Lulu, Searchers, Wynter – By Tom Von Malder". Retrieved June 21, 2020.
  18. ^ abPalm, Carl Magnus (October 28, 2009). Bright Lights, Dark Shadows: The Real Story of ABBA. Omnibus Press. ISBN .
  19. ^Hep Stars, 1964–1969, EMI Svenska AB/Olga 7C1 38-35956/7, double album liner notes
  20. ^"The Hep Stars – A Tribute To Buddy Holly". Retrieved June 21, 2020.
  21. ^"A TRIBUTE TO BUDDY HOLLY av HEP STARS". NostalgiListan (in Swedish). Retrieved June 21, 2020.
  22. ^"The Hep Stars – Cadillac". Retrieved June 21, 2020.
  23. ^ abcdefgh"FARMER JOHN av HEP STARS". NostalgiListan (in Swedish). Retrieved June 21, 2020.
  24. ^"Låtarna från Kvällstoppen 22 juni 1965". NostalgiListan (in Swedish). Retrieved June 21, 2020.
  25. ^ ab"The Hep Stars – Top 10 Chart". Retrieved June 21, 2020.
  26. ^"Hep Stars | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved June 21, 2020.
  27. ^"The Hep Stars – We And Our Cadillac". Discogs. Retrieved June 21, 2020.
  28. ^"The Hep Stars – Hep Stars On Stage". Retrieved June 21, 2020.
  29. ^"Farmer John". VG-lista 2020 (in Norwegian Bokmål). Retrieved June 21, 2020.
  30. ^Starrett, Dave. "'Meet The Searchers' – from long-time fan, Dave Starrett". Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  31. ^"Covers of Farmer John". Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  32. ^"B". Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  33. ^"Tidal Waves". Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  34. ^Deming, Mark. "The Matadors – Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  35. ^"Ragged Glory". Archived from the original on January 31, 2016. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  36. ^"Discogs Website". Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  37. ^"Los Lobos Setlist Stats". Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  38. ^"The Delmonas – The Delmonas | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  39. ^"Fifty Years Of 'Farmer John': A Hit That Opened The Door For Chicano Rock". Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  40. ^"Hinds – Davey Crockett (Thee Headcoats Cover)". Retrieved April 26, 2021.
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Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Farmer, John

FARMER, JOHN (1835–1901), musician, born at Nottingham on 16 Aug. 1835, was eldest of a family of nine. His father, also John Farmer, was a lace manufacturer and a skilful violoncellist; his mother, whose maiden name was Mary Blackshaw, was markedly unmusical, but possessed of considerable mechanical inventiveness. An uncle, Henry Farmer, was a composer and the proprietor of a general music-warehouse in Nottingham. Farmer was apprenticed to him at a very early age after schooling at Hucknall Torkard and at Nottingham, and taught himself to play piano, violin, and harp. At the age of fourteen he was sent to the Conservatorium at Leipzig, where he studied under Moscheles, Plaidy, Hauptmann, and E. F. Richter, and sang in the Thomaskirche. After three years at Leipzig he moved to Coburg, studied under Spaeth, and rehearsed the choral work at the opera and elsewhere. In 1853 he returned to England, and took a position in the London branch of his father's lace business, where, though the work was very uncongenial, he stayed till the death, in 1857, of his mother, who had strongly opposed an artistic career. He then ran away to Zürich, to support himself by music-teaching, solely influenced by the residence of Wagner there at the time; he had helped in the production of 'Tannhäuser' at Coburg, and had experienced a strong reaction from the strict academicism of Leipzig. In 1861 Farmer returned to England, and, after some fluctuations of fortune, was engaged to give daily piano performances at the International Exhibition of 1862. The association with Harrow school, which gave him his chief reputation, was a fruit of this engagement. Some old Harrovians who visited the exhibition and were struck with Farmer's playing invited him to take charge of a small musical society (unconnected officially with the school itself) in which they were interested. He took up his residence at Harrow at the end of 1862. In 1864, in spite of conservative scruples on the part of the authorities, he joined the staff of the school as music teacher. To words by Harrow masters [see Bowen, Edward Ernest, Suppl. II] he composed numerous songs which won great popularity and became an integral part of the permanent tradition of the school. In 1885, when Dr. Henry Montagu Butler, headmaster since 1859, who had given Farmer every encouragement, left Harrow, Farmer accepted an invitation (previously offered, but then declined) from Benjamin Jowett, Master of Balliol College, Oxford, to become organist there. At Balliol he remained till his death. Among numerous other college activities, he instituted, in the college hall, with the Master's full approval, classical secular concerts on Sunday evenings, which aroused for a short time considerable opposition.

There were many side outlets to Farmer's untiring energies. In 1872 a body of friends founded the Harrow Music School, an institution designed to systematise his method of instruction in classical piano music. Special stress was laid on the study of the work of Bach, the educational importance of which Farmer was one of the first in England to appreciate. He was also one of the earliest and firmest champions of Brahms. For the last twenty-five years of his life his method was adopted by the Girls' Public Day School Company, for which (as for many other schools) he acted as musical adviser and inspector. From 1895 onwards he was examiner to the Society of Arts, and he was also busily engaged in teacliing and in lecturing in schools and in universities outside Oxford, taking up towards the end of his life a further interest — the music of soldiers and sailors. He died at Oxford on 17 July 1901, after a long paralytic illness.

Farmer married, at Zürich on 25 Oct. 1859, Marie Elisabeth Stahel, daughter of a Zürich schoolmaster; two of their seven children predeceased him.

Farmer's published compositions include numerous songs for Harrow, Balliol, St. Andrews, and elsewhere; oratorios, 'Christ and his Soldiers' (1878) and 'The coming of Christ' (1899); a fairy opera, 'Cinderella' (1882); a 'Requiem in memory of departed Harrow friends' (1884); and many works of smaller dimensions. Several extended pieces of chamber-music and other works remain in MS. He also edited many volumes of Bach and other standard composers; 'Gaudeamus, songs for colleges ​and schools' (1890); 'Hymns and chorales for schools and colleges' (1892); 'Dulce domum, rhymes and songs (old and new) for children' (1893); 'Scarlet and Blue, songs for soldiers and sailors' (1896). He had a remarkable gift for writing straightforward healthy tunes suitable for unison singing, and to these compositions he himself attached chief importance. A warmhearted enthusiast of magnetic personality, with a deep belief in the ethical influence of music, he did much to popularise the classical composers and to elevate musical taste in the circles in which he moved.

A portrait in oils is in the speech room at Harrow school.

[Personal knowledge; private information; Abbott and Campbell's Benjamin Jowett (1897); Harrow School, ed. E. W. Howson and E. Townsend Warner, 1898, passim; Musical Gazette, Dec. 1901.]


Wiki farmer john

Dodger Dog

Dodger Dog retail package

Hot dog served by the Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodger Dog is a hot dog named after the Major League Baseball franchise that sells them (the Los Angeles Dodgers). It is a 10 inch[2]pork wiener wrapped in a steamed bun. The hot dog is sold at Dodger Stadium located in Los Angeles, California. According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, the projected number of 2011 season hot dogs sold at Dodger Stadium was 2 million—establishing Dodger Dogs as the leader in hot dog sales of all those sold in Major League Baseball ballparks.[3]

There are two lines for Dodger Dog vendors: steamed or grilled. The vendors of the grilled dogs are typically located near the back wall of the stadium so that the smoke doesn't overwhelm the baseball fans. The grilled Dogs are considered the "classic" version. Until 2021, they were known as "Farmer John Dodger Dogs." Starting with the 2021 MLB Los Angeles Dodgers season, the iconic "Dodger Dog" is being supplied to Dodger Stadium by Vernon, California based Papa Cantella's.


The success of the Dodger Dog has spawned a small chain of restaurants in the Southern California area. One such restaurant named Dodger Dogs can be found in Universal City, California. The Dodger Dog is also available in the "Super Dodger Dog" variation, which is made of 100% beef as opposed to 100% pork. It is believed that Dodger Dogs were first called "Dodger Dogs" in 1958 when the Dodgers first came to Los Angeles from Brooklyn. Dodger Dog wieners are also sold to the public in Southern California supermarkets under the Farmer John brand. In 2011, the Dodgers introduced a Mexican-themed "Doyer Dog"[4] which are made with chili, salsa, jalepeños, and condiments replacing the standard ketchup and mustard on a typical hot dog.

The Dodger Dog is also served at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, OK, the home of the Dodgers AAA affiliate Oklahoma City Dodgers. A concession area called the "Dog Pound" serves hot dogs from stadiums around the country including the Fenway Frank, Cincinnati Cheese Coney, Milwaukee Brat, and The Red Hot Chicago Dog. The Dodger Dog was not, however, served at the Dodgers' spring training ballpark, Camelback Ranch, during the team's first spring training at the park.[5] This was changed for the 2010 Spring Training season where the Dodger Dog was either cooked on a hot dog roller or steamed.


Thomas Arthur created the "Dodger Dog" during his 29 years (1962–1991) as the food concessions manager at Dodger Stadium. Originally, the 10 inch dog was sold as a "Foot Long," but Thomas Arthur decided truth in advertising was the best path. He approached Walter O'Malley, majority owner of the Dodgers, and asked if the Hot Dog could be called the "Dodger Dog."[citation needed] It became such a staple for Dodger fans that actor Vincent Price described its deliciousness in his cookbook, Treasury of Great Recipes.[6] The 10-inch wiener was originally made by the Morrell Meat Company, but Farmer John, one of the Dodgers' chief sponsors, soon took over the hot dog needs of the stadium.[1] Farmer John was purchased by Hormel in 2004. Farmer John was purchased from Hormel by Smithfield Foods in 2017.[7] In 2021, Smithfield and the Dodgers could not agree on a new contract, and the name Farmer John was removed from the product.[8]

In popular culture[edit]

  • Agent Mulder in the E.B.E. episode of The X-Files claimed that Dodger Dogs gave him "swamp gas."[9]
  • In Hancock, Jason Bateman's character, Ray, compares Hancock (Will Smith) to a Dodger Dog, saying "It's something people don't think they're gonna like, but then they try it, and they love it!"[10]
  • Johnny Drama in the "Manic Monday" episode of Entourage complains that Vince making him late won't let him get a Dodger Dog.[11]
  • In episode #1000 of The Joe Rogan Experience, at 2:08:00 comedian Joey Diaz voices his dislike for Dodger Dogs, likening them to American Airlines's Oatmeal.[12]
  • In the second part of the Star Trek Voyager episode Future's End the character Rain Robinson, played by Sarah Silverman, mentions Dodger Dogs when Lieutenant Tuvok brings some as a part of breakfast

See also[edit]


  1. ^ abWoo, Elaine (June 27, 2006). "Thomas G. Arthur, 84; Made Dodger Dogs a Staple of L.A. Stadium Experience". Los Angeles Times.
  2. ^Lowery, Steve (October 16, 2009). "Los Angeles fans speak frankly". Philadelphia Daily News.
  3. ^"Reporter". Urner Barry. 6 (4): 8. 2011.
  4. ^Elina Shatkin (March 31, 2011). "LA Dodgers Unveil Doyer Dog; Also, More Salads". LA Weekly. Archived from the original on April 8, 2013. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  5. ^Plaschke, Bill (March 8, 2009). "Dodgers' new spring home in Phoenix is a site to behold". Los Angeles Times.
  6. ^del Barco, Mandalit (October 15, 2015). "So Good You'll Scream? A Cookbook From Horror Icon Vincent Price". Morning Edition. NPR.
  7. ^"Smithfield Foods to buy Farmer John from Hormel". November 21, 2016 – via Reuters.
  8. ^Shaikin, Bill (April 26, 2021). "Say it ain't so, Vin: Farmer John Dodger Dogs are no more". Los Angeles Times.
  9. ^Morgan, Glen; Wong, James. "The Truth Is Out There". THE X-FILES : E. B. E. (1x16). Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  10. ^Hancock. Sony Pictures Releasing (DVD). 2008. Event occurs at 1:00.
  11. ^"Entourage s03e15 Episode Script". Springfield! Springfield!. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  12. ^Rogan, Joe (August 18, 2017). Episode #1000 - Joey Diaz & Tom Segura. Joe Rogan Experience. Event occurs at 2:08:04. Retrieved December 31, 2019 – via Youtube.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°04′21″N118°14′22″W / 34.07239°N 118.23933°W / 34.07239; -118.23933

Mookel VS The Boys (ft. Otzdarva, No0b3, Puppers, Monto) - Dead by Daylight
Farmer John's famous Dodger Dog. Photo from Wikipedia

The Hormel Foods-owned Farmer John slaughterhouse and processing plant in Vernon, CA, just south of downtown L.A., is known for its colorful mural of happy pigs enjoying themselves on lush green fields under a bright blue sky. But the pigs inside the 900,000-square-foot facility are anything but happy; and the Hormel-owned farm in Kings County, CA, 180 miles northeast of LA, where 150,000 pigs spend their short six-month lives without ever setting foot outdoors, is nothing the company wants consumers to see.

Pigs at the Hormel-owned farm were covered with dirt and feces. Photo by DxE.

Pigs at the Hormel-owned Farmer John farm were found covered with dirt and feces.  Photo by DxE.

A recent eight-month investigation from mid-2015 into early 2016 conducted by the international animal rights network Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) found and documented filthy, inhumane overcrowding at the pig farm, just outside Corcoran, CA.

Investigators documented at least five different antibiotic drugs administered to the pigs through their water or food, despite warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that this practice has produced antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a serious hazard to human and animal health.

Former "Baywatch" star and longtime activist Alexandra Paul rescuing a pig at Farmer John's farm. Photo by DxE.

Former “Baywatch” star and longtime activist Alexandra Paul rescuing a pig at Farmer John farm. Photo by DxE.

DxE engages in “open rescue,” which was pioneered in Australia by the animal rights activist Patty Mark. During an open rescue, activists walk into a farm or slaughterhouse in the middle of the night, document the conditions using high-quality video and still cameras, and rescue one or more sick or injured animals to receive veterinary care. When the results of the investigation are released to the public, the activists publicly announce themselves, stepping forward to talk about what they saw.

“Open rescue differs from other forms of investigatory work in that we do not attempt to trick farmers into getting access to the farms,” said Wayne Hsiung, DxE co-founder and lead investigator. “We just walk right in. We don’t wear masks. And our central goal is not just to document but to rescue. We share the stories of the individuals we rescue because we know that stories — powerful, emotional narratives — can transform the world.”

At Hormel's Farmer John farm in California many of the pigs have tennis ball-sized abscesses. Photo by DxE.

Large abscesses were found on many of the pigs at the farm. Photo by DxE.

Footage shot by DxE shows pigs crowded so tightly they can barely move. In some cases, piglets are seen eating other still living piglets. Many of the animals have tennis ball-sized abscesses, and documents found by DxE at the facility indicate that pigs there suffer twice the rate of infections allowed by Hormel’s own quality-control standards.

According to DxE’s investigative report, “Superbugs inAmerica’s Pig Farms,” released in late June, “many pigs were covered with feces” and investigators witnessed “lame animals being trampled to death and piles of dead piglets.”

Hormel, one of the biggest pork suppliers in the nation, pioneered the use of antibiotic drugs beginning in 1950 to speed the growth of pigs, and they’ve been using massive amounts of antibiotics to fatten animals and keep them alive in unhealthy indoor environments ever since. Shortly after Hormel scientists discovered the growth promoting property of antibiotics, the rest of the pork industry began using them at their own farms.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some 80 percent of all antibiotics in this country are used on animals raised for food. Typically, they are not administered to sick individuals but rather delivered to an entire facility to not only prevent disease in significantly unhealthy environments but to promote animal growth.

Despite being dosed with these drugs, many of Hormel’s Farmer John pork products are billed as “natural” (the company has an entire “California Natural” line). Stores that sell Farmer John brand meat include Wal-Mart, Target, Sam’s Club, Bel Air, Food Maxx, Vons, Ralphs, Lucky, Safeway and Costco. Farmer John also produces the LA Dodgers’ high-profile Dodger Dogs.

At Hormel’s 420-acre Farmer John farm outside Corcoran, DxE investigators discovered that pigs were being fed Pre-11 Pellet Mx whose active ingredient, Carbadox, has been found to be carcinogenic, even at trace levels (the FDA, in early April, began the process of banning it). In its report, DxE wrote that a United Nations/World Health Organization agency, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, has determined that there is no safe level of residues of carbadox or its metabolites in food that represents an acceptable risk to consumers.

In addition to carbodox, internal documents from the farm show that the pigs receive the antibiotics NeoMed 325 (Neomycin), GenGard (Gentamicin), Pennchlor 4 (tetracycline) and Penicillin G Potassium in their water.

In 2013, Robert S. Lawrence, an M.D. and the director of the Center for a Livable Future at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told Consumer Reports, “When you give low-dose antibiotics for growth promotion or for prophylaxis of infection, you end up killing off the susceptible bacteria, whether they’re E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, or other bacteria. And you continue to select for those bacteria that, through spontaneous mutations or transfer of genes from other resistant bacteria, allow them to be resistant to antibiotics.”

DxE cited a Consumer Reports 2013 investigation that found that 69% of the pork chops and ground pork sampled from farms including Hormel, Hormel Natural Choice and Farmer John tested positive for Yersinia enterocolitica, a bacterium that can cause fever, bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain and arthritis. Additionally, Salmonella,Staphylococcus aureus or Listeria monocytogenes were found in three to seven percent of the samples, and Enterococcus was found in 11 percent. Some of the bacteria were found to be resistant to multiple drugs or classes of drugs.

At the Farmer John farm, DxE investigators took multiple samples from open wounds on the pigs that tested positive for Campylobacter (a gastrointestinal infection that can be fatal for humans) and an antibiotic resistant form of Staphylococcus aureus (which kills about 11,000 people in the US each year, according to the CDC).

Not only can antibiotic-resistant bacteria be transmitted to humans via animal food products and produce that has been fertilized with manure, but the bacteria can also travel in the air.

The American Medical Association, the World Health Organizaiton, the CDC, the FDA, the American Public Health Association and the Pew Charitable Trust Foundation all oppose the use of sub-therapeutic antibiotics to farmed animals.

DxE investigators described a stench inside and outside the Farmer John barns that was more powerful than anything they’d ever encountered. “The smell was sickening, a combination of filth and rotten flesh,” Hsiung said. “The odor was so powerful that it stayed in our hair and on our equipment for days afterwards,” even after repeat washings.

Pigs could barely move at the Farmer John farm. Photo by DxE.

The DxE report also notes that “the cries, screams and squeals of the animals were almost deafening.” More shocking “were the thousands and thousands of pigs packed shoulder to shoulder in hundreds of disgusting and filthy pens.”

DxE investigators “saw numerous dead bodies and pigs who were lame and/or languishing. A large number of the pigs were panting — an indication of difficulty breathing and acute distress. Some of the pigs were suffering from prolapse, a gruesome condition which is fatal if not treated where the uterus or intestines fall out of the pig’s body.”

A doctor of veterinary science, Sherstin Rosenberg, stated in the DxE report, “It is my professional opinion, based upon viewing the video file provided, that the animals at the facility are being subjected to systematic animal cruelty.”

Responding to the investigation, a Hormel spokesperson said in a statement, “A third-party auditor completed an on-site assessment within 24 hours of the [DxE] video’s release. The farm passed the audit and no animal welfare concerns were identified.”


DxE members found and rescued one piglet that was sick, and being eaten by other, much larger pigs, naming her Miley after the pop star and animal-rights advocate. “The investigators felt morally compelled to remove the piglet and rush her to receive veterinary care, where she was diagnosed with pneumonia and septic arthritis,” the report stated.

DxE investigator Samer Masterson hanging out with one of the pigs rescued from the Farmer John farm. Photo by Michael Goldberg.

DxE investigator Samer Masterson with one of the rescued pigs. Photo by Michael Goldberg.

Miley, now healthy, lives with another rescued pig at an animal sanctuary which the DxE investigatory team visited in late February of 2016. The two pigs had the run of the place, where a number of dogs, as well as chickens and other rescued animals live. After munching on some broccoli in the sanctuary kitchen, Miley played with a treat dispenser toy, while the other rescued pig flopped on a dog bed for an afternoon snooze.

“I think she enjoys having the freedom to go where she wants,” said a sanctuary worker. “She goes on adventures in search of food and there’s a shady spot under the Cyprus trees where she likes to sleep.”

Miley ran out through an open doorway to a field where she began rooting in the dirt, an activity that was impossible at Farmer John.

“DxE is trying to bring liberation to life, to put liberation in action,” Hsiung said, watching her. “It nearly broke some of our team members to leave [tens of thousands of pigs] behind. We knew [going in] that we could only save a handful. But for the ones we could save, it meant everything.

“It may take a generation,” Hsiung continued, “but we expect to see a day where this sort of abuse is no longer allowed and every one of these animals can be saved.”

Michael Goldberg is a former Rolling Stone Senior Writer. He is an animal rights activist and a member of DxE. His first novel, True Love Scars, was published in 2014; his second, The Flowers Lied, was published in March 2016.

Leslie Goldberg, a former San Francisco Examiner reporter who was nominated for a Pulitzer, contributed to this story.



Now discussing:

Clougherty Packing Company History


3049 East Vernon Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90058

Telephone:(323) 583-4621
Fax:(323) 584-1699


Wholly-Owned Subsidiary of Hormel Foods Corp.
Incorporated:1945 as Clougherty Packing Company
Employees: 1,200
Sales: $420 million (2004 est.)
NAIC: 112210 Hog and Pig Farming; 311611 Animal (except Poultry) Slaughtering; 311612 Meat Processed from Carcasses; 424470 Meat and Meat Product Merchant Wholesalers

Company Perspectives:

Today, twelve Cloughertys spanning three generations work together to insure Farmer John products are in keeping with the past. They closely supervise every detail of the packing process. Quality control is foremost. So, consumers are always assured fresh delivery daily. What's more, the Farmer John family responds to consumer demand with a growing selection of wholesome meat products. They include: a full line of lean, fresh-cut pork, savory sausage, wonderful wieners, franks, Polish sausage, bacon in two thicknesses, boneless smoked fully cooked ham, as well as a full assortment of pre-packed ready-to-eat luncheon meats, liver spreads and more. Hot or cold, for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Farmer John products always reflect high values and low prices. On the holidays, every day, families who know what's best put Farmer John products between their knives and forks.

Key Dates:

Brothers Francis and Bernard Clougherty enter the pork packing business.
Clougherty Packing Company is incorporated in California.
Farmer John brand is introduced.
Set artist Les Grimes paints a historic mural on the company's Vernon, California, plant.
Operations expand to Tucson.
Meat cutters' stage a two-month strike at the company's Los Angeles plant.
Revenues rise to $300 million.
Wiener line is rebuilt after a fire.
Hormel Foods Corp. buys Cloughtery Packing for $186 million.

Company History:

Clougherty Packing Company is the West Coast's leading pork packer, making products sold under the Farmer John brand name. These include bacon, ham, sausage, and wieners. The company sells more than 400 million pounds of pork a year. The extra-long Dodger Dogs the company sells at Dodger Stadium are a baseball legend. Family-owned for generations, in late 2004 the company was sold to Hormel Foods Corp., which was expanding its presence in the Southwest. Clougherty has a 900,000-square-foot plant on a ten-acre site near downtown Los Angeles and hog farming operations outside of California.


Francis and Bernard Clougherty began by curing pork bellies and smoked hams for sale out of their home. Born in Los Angeles to Irish immigrants, the two entered the meat business working for a meat producer and a railroad shipper.

According to the Los Angeles Times, they progressed to leasing space at the Woodward-Bennett Packing facility and entered the crowded Los Angeles meat business in earnest in 1931. They had one employee and no money, Francis's son Bernard told the paper.

Clougherty Brothers Packing Co., as the business was known, bought the plant in 1941. During the war, sheep and cattle products were included in the lineup. Clougherty Packing Company was incorporated in California at the end of 1945.

A New Brand in the 1950s

The company focused on the pork market in the 1950s. In 1953, the Farmer John brand was introduced, said to be more pronounceable than the family's Irish surname. The brothers promoted the new brand by sponsoring a local television show, Polka Parade.

The Cloughertys bought the Harry Carey Ranch in California's Santa Clarita Valley around 1953. However, plans to raise pork there did not pan out due to the hot, dry weather. This site was used for a time as a retreat, then sold to a residential developer in 1998.

The pork plant, located south of Los Angeles in Vernon, became a tourist attraction in 1957 when set painter Les Grimes was hired to decorate one of its walls with a farm scene.

Clougherty needed a new local advertising vehicle when Polka Parade shifted to national distribution in 1964. It shifted to sponsorship of radio broadcasts of Dodger baseball games. This led to stadium sales of Farmer John's famous "Dodger Dogs." However, the extra-long wieners did not become the Dodgers' official hot dog until around 1990. Dodger Stadium sold about two million of the "eastern grown, western flavored" wieners a year. In 1999, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council ranked Dodger fans as baseball's top consumers of hot dogs. Famed sportscaster Vin Scully pitched Dodger Dogs to great effect in his broadcasts. Clougherty also supplied other area sports venues, including the Rose Bowl Coliseum.

In 1962, Clougherty's operations expanded into Tucson, Arizona.

For several years the company supplied beef for its West Coast plant and for local supermarkets from this location. The Tucson plant was also decorated with a farm mural, which became a local landmark.

According to the Los Angeles Times, there were a dozen slaughterhouses and more than 60 meat packing plants in Vernon in 1970s. Fewer than 20 percent of these would survive into the 1990s.

Developments in the 1980s and 1990s

Bernard Clougherty died in 1982, followed two years later by his brother Francis. The company was subsequently run by Francis's four surviving children: Bernard, Joe, Anthony, and Kathleen Regan.

Clougherty was well placed to benefit from Southern California's postwar population boom. By the mid-1980s, Clougherty was the last large meat packer remaining in the region after its competitors had all relocated to the Midwest. Revenues were $300 million by 1989.

Clougherty experienced a two-month meat cutters strike in late 1985. The company also had contentious labor relations with the union in the 1990s, when more than 1,000 workers worked for several years without a contract.

There was a significant positive development in the late 1980s. "The best thing we ever did was to secure our own source of hogs," president Joe Clougherty later told the journal Meat & Poultry. In 1988, the company formed a partnership with a California hog farmer, then took over the entire operation in 1994. It also started raising pigs in Arizona in 1992. By the late 1990s, Clougherty was supplying 30 percent of its own hogs.

Clougherty was also upgrading its production line. The company brought in a master sausage maker from Germany to oversee the shop. An X-ray system was added to the sausage line in 1988 to scan for bone fragments. Three years later, the company installed a small lab to speed up nutritional analysis of their product.

In the early 1990s, Clougherty was California's largest meat packer and ranked as a top 100 U.S. food company. The value of concessions at Dodger baseball games went beyond sales of the hot dogs themselves. It was a cornerstone of the company's marketing strategy, a reputation lamented to the Los Angeles Daily News after the 1994 season was cut short. In April of that year, the hot dog operation experienced another setback when a fire wiped out the production area. State-of-the-art processing and packaging machinery was subsequently installed.

Sales were about $325 million a year in the late 1990s. The company had to contend with consolidation among the area supermarket chains, reducing its major client list from more than two dozen to five. At the same time, distribution had expanded to Washington State, Las Vegas, and Hawaii. Clougherty also paid attention to the smaller retailers and ethnic groceries that placed a high priority on freshness.

To improve its margins, Clougherty was developing value-added products. The company erected a new cooking plant in 1997.

Beyond 2000

Clougherty's revenues rose about 10 percent to $365 million in 2000. The company employed around 1,500 people, including several hundred butchers and 300 farm workers in California, Arizona, and Wyoming. It shut down its ten-year-old Tucson beef-grinding operation, Arizona Meat Products Co., in 2001. The unit had sales of up to $50 million a year but was unable to compete profitably against industry giants.

In late 2003, Clougherty hired Atlanta's AmeriCold Logistics, LLC to build a 120,000-square-foot distribution center next to its Vernon plant. AmeriCold was under contract to manage the warehouse for ten years.

Family-owned for generations, the company was acquired by Hormel Foods Corp. for $186 million in December 2004. Based in Austin, Minnesota, Hormel was the fifth-largest pork packer in the United States. It owned several leading national brands, including SPAM, but was looking to increase its business in the Southwest. The region's Hispanic population consumed higher than average quantities of pork products, an analyst explained in the Los Angeles Times.

Company president Joe Clougherty and several other family members remained on board after the sale. According to Hormel officials, Clougherty was expected to reach $420 million in sales in 2004, up from $370 million in 2003. It was processing more than 1.6 million hogs and selling more than 400 million pounds of pork a year. The company then had about 1,200 employees.

Principal Competitors: ConAgra, Inc.; Excel Corporation; Kraft Foods Inc.; Miller Packing Company; Smithfield Foods Inc.; Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc.

Further Reading:

  • Baker, Bob, "Union Goes After Latino Support in Battling Meat Firm," Los Angeles Times, June 28, 1990, p. D1.
  • "Baseball and Hotdogs," Meat & Poultry, June 1, 2001.
  • Boyle, Dan, "Plans Resubmitted for Housing Project on Saugus Ranch," Los Angeles Daily News, Santa Clarita Sec., April 8, 1992, p. SC4.
  • Collins, Glenn, "Hold the Homogeneity; Hot Dogs Stay Local," New York Times, July 15, 2001, p. 6.
  • Dawson, Angela, "DavisElen Wins Farmer John Pork Account," ADWEEK, February 2, 1998.
  • "Farmer John Fires Up F/F/S Hot Dog Packaging Trio," Packaging Digest, January 1, 1995, p.28.
  • Hoffarth, Tom, "The Writing on (And off) the Wall; It's a Dog with a New Bark," Daily News of Los Angeles, January 3, 2005, p. S2.
  • Kiger, Jeff, "Sale to Hormel Proves Roller-Coaster Ride for Los Angeles-Based Meat Packer," Post-Bulletin (Rochester, Minnesota), January 1, 2005.
  • Kish, Rich, "The Silver Lining," Meat Processing, May 2005.
  • Kratz, Gregory P., "Pigs, Pigs, Pigs," Deseret News, September 13, 1998, p. B1.
  • Lee, Patrick, "Dodger Dogs' Maker Dogged by Competition," Daily News of Los Angeles, March 26, 1988, p. B1.
  • "Meat Packing Plants." Encyclopedia of American Industries. Online Edition. Gale, 2004. Reproduced in Business and Company Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale, 2005.
  • "Meat Plant to Get $7 Million for Expansion and Jobs," Los Angeles Times, January 6, 1994, p. J2.
  • Neff, Jack, "Making the ERP Link," Food Processing, August 1999, pp. 98f.
  • Nunes, Keith, "Companies to Watch: Clougherty Packing Co.; A Fresh Perspective," Meat & Poultry, September 1, 1999.
  • Petix, Mark, "Loading Up on the Basics and More; The Basics at Southern California Baseball Stadiums Still Include Some Mean Hot Dogs, But Sushi, Tacos and Chowder Have Joined the Lineup," Press Enterprise (Riverside, California), April 1, 2005.
  • Puzo, Daniel P., "Pig Star: A Pork Story--When Brand-Name Meats Came of Age, No One Was Bigger in Southern California Than Farmer John," Los Angeles Times, Food Sec., February 8, 1996, p. H8.
  • Relly, Jeannine, "Farmer John Layoffs Begin," Arizona Daily Star, March 20, 2001, p. D1.
  • ------, "Farmer John Meats Shuts Down," Arizona Daily Star, August 24, 2001, p. D1.
  • Robe, Karl, "Better Sausage, and Quick QC Payouts: Analysis of Ground Meat Helps Bring Formula to Standards; X-Rays Show the Way to Bone-Free QA," Food Processing, February 1, 1993, p. 78.
  • Rutherford, Megan, "Preserving Western Art: Change at Famous Wall," Arizona Daily Star, September 16, 2003, p. D1.
  • Smith, Rod, "Hormel Buys Clougherty in Major Pork Expansion," Feedstuffs, January 10, 2005, pp. 1f.
  • Smith, Sharon D., "Homes Planned for Hog-Farm Site," Daily News of Los Angeles, October 5, 1992, p. SC1.
  • Sullivan, Ben, "Fans Wild for Winning Weiner; Dodger Dog Tops Survey of Major League Ballpark Hot Dog Eaters," Los Angeles Daily News, April 3, 1999, p. B1.
  • Tamaki, Julie, "Hormel Buys Maker of Farmer John Meats, Dodger Dogs; The $186-Million Deal for Clougherty Will Let the Acquirer Expand Its Presence in California," Los Angeles Times, December 31, 2004, p. C1.
  • Taub, Daniel, "Union Ends Boycott against Vernon Meat Processing Firm," Los Angeles Business Journal, April 6, 1998, p. 4.
  • Wagner, Karen, "Maintaining Mighty Machines," National Provisioner, May 1997, p. 62.
  • Weinstein, Henry, "Meatpackers Throw 'Dodger Dogs' Producer a Strike," Los Angeles Times, October 2, 1985.
  • Wilcox, Gregory J., "Business Shut Out by End of Baseball Advertisers; Broadcasters Struggle to Cope," Los Angeles Daily News, Valley Sec., September 16, 1994, p. B1.
  • "X-Ray Meat Inspection Scans Up to Nine Tons Per Hour," Prepared Foods, March 1, 1991, p. 87.

Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol.72. St. James Press, 2005.


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