|Lorenz Neuhoff, Jr. served 40 years on the board of directors of the American Meat Institute. As the youngest person ever appointed to this prestigious group, he held the record for the longest period of continuous service.
In 1919, at the age of 12, Lorenz Neuhoff, Jr. went to work in the meat business in
Nashville, Tennessee at a packing company owned by his father, Lorenz Neuhoff, Sr.,
and uncle, Henry Neuhoff, Sr.
The Neuhoff family moved to Atlanta in 1927 where Lorenz, at the age of 17, became
the superintendent of a plant owned by Swift & Company. He was the youngest superintendent
in Swift's history. While working in Atlanta, Lorenz attended night school at Georgia Tech
and studied engineering.
Some 36 years later (1963) 'the' Oscar Meyer said of him, "There is not another person in
the meat industry that knows more about the meat business than Lorenz Neuhoff, Jr."
In 1933 he started his own company, Neuhoff Incorporated, with the purchase of Scott Packing
Company, a small business in Lynchburg, Virginia. Three years later he moved his company to its new home in Salem,
An impressive new home it was. A local paper reported, "Construction began in March 1936 and with
a crew of 125 men 'putting forth every effort', it was completed in August. The new 23,000 square feet industry,
built of brick and stone, includes every modern convenience and equipment. Over 100,000 bags of cement and 10 rail
cars of lumber were used in its construction."
Throughout the 1940s and 50s, Neuhoff pursued an aggressive expansion program throughout
the Southeast. Acquired were a number of companies and packing plants including:
Acme Provision Company, Bristol, Tennessee
Reelfoot Packing Company, Union City, Tennessee
The Suber-Edwards Company, Quincy, Florida
Lindsey-Robinson And Company in Roanoke, Virginia
Plants in Clarksville, Tennessee, Kinston, North Carolina and Montgomery, Alabama were also acquired.
In 1948, Neuhoff's company name was changed to Valleydale Packers and by 1958 annual gross sales were in excess of 100 million dollars.
A large part of the success of the Valleydale brand is attributed to Mr.
Neuhoff's early recognition of the power of television. According to a Salem Historical Society archive
article dated 1952, "The first home-area television station, Roanoke's WSLS, went on the air. It's earliest
commercial advertised Valleydale meats."
A series of Valleydale TV commercials created in the late 50s featured animated pigs working or marching
in a parade, playing band instruments and singing the "Hooray for Valleydale" jingle.
Over the next 10 years, these lovable characters created happy, long-lasting memories and
captured the hearts of a generation of viewers from the earliest days of television. Even today, folks who
have not been exposed to the commercials in 40 years or more can still sing the Valleydale jingle and
describe the characters.
The pigs remain a Valleydale icon and are still featured in advertising and on product packaging.
In 1970, after 37 years of establishing and growing the Valleydale organization, Mr. Neuhoff
relinquished his duties as president but remained as Chairman until his death in 1988.
In 1992 the Neuhoff family sold the company to Smithfield
Foods. Based in Smithfield, Virginia, Smithfield Foods is the
world's largest pork processor and hog producer.
Today, Valleydale operates as a division
of Gwaltney, an independent operating company of Smithfield.
Valleydale markets its Valleydale brand of bacon, hot dogs, sausage and lunchmeats throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United
States. Where folks still sing the "Hooray For Valleydale" jingle.