A director at the trough…

July 29, 2004

There’s something just a wee bit ironic about a director at the nation’s largest hog producer, Smithfield Farms (SFD), who has managed to build an impressive series of business relationships that enable him and his family to feed quite well off the company. More than a page in the proxy Smithfield filed yesterday is devoted to its relationships with director Wendell H. Murphy and members of Murphy’s family. Back in January 2000, Smithfield bought Murphy Farms, a major hog producer, for about 24 million shares of Smithfield stock — stock that’s appreciated nicely over the past few years. But it’s the various hog farming relationships with Murphy and his various family members — 9 that are disclosed for the first time — that are particularly interesting in this proxy. For example, Arrowhead Farms, which the company says Murphy has a 43% interest in, received $1.14 million from Smithfield last year. Another two farms, which Murphy’s son, Wendell Jr. has ownership interests in, received another $2.3 million from Smithfield. All told, the various relationships generated over $41 million for the Murphy clan last year.

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