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Vernon Plant That Made Farmer John Products Since 1931 Undergoing Demolition

The iconic Smithfield Foods facility in Vernon, a local landmark that once provided up to 2,500 jobs and made Dodger Dogs, is currently undergoing demolition.

9:16 AM PST on January 3, 2024

farmer john factory

Photo by Elmer Argueta for L.A. TACO.

The iconic Smithfield Foods facility in Vernon, a local landmark that once provided up to 2,500 jobs, is currently undergoing demolition.

This facility was known for producing Farmer John's products, including the famous Dodger Dog. It boasted captivating murals adorning its entire facade, depicting cheerful farm life and picturesque countryside landscapes, starkly contrasting the concrete jungle of Vernon, California that surrounded it.

Photo: Elmer Argueta

Until last year, the facility, which had operated since 1931 following Farmer John's purchase of it from Hormel Foods Corp., employed around 1,800 workers from the southeastern Los Angeles community and beyond. Smithfield Foods attributed the closure to "the escalating costs of conducting business in California," a factor they cited upon making the announcement.

Last summer, the plant was reportedly purchased by Goodman Group, a global industrial property firm. 

Photo: Elmer Argueta

According to residents, the facility had long been suspected of emitting unpleasant odors that had afflicted southeast Los Angeles communities for decades. The animal product manufacturing plant also stirred controversy, drawing the attention of animal rights activists who organized vigils in protest.

As the structure nears complete demolition, its controversial history and well-known visage are both set to fade into the past.

Photo: Elmer Argueta

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