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Des Moines Register reports:

The head of Smithfield Foods, which was taken over by a Chinese company in a major international deal, is Pro Farmer's agricultural person of 2013.

The newsletter said Larry Pope, chief executive officer of Smithfield, was instrumental in the $4.7 billion takeover of the company by meat processor Shuanghui International. The deal was announced in May and closed in late September, after the approval of U.S. regulators and Smithfield shareholders.

"We know this won't be a popular choice with everyone, but there's no denying our 2013 ag person of the year was at the center of one of the top stories this past year," Pro Farmer said. "While the sale of Smithfield to Shuanghui is controversial, it has potential impacts across the ag sector."

Executives with Smithfield, which sells packaged products under its own name and other popular brands, including Farmland, Armour and Cook's, promoted the transaction as a way for U.S. pork farmers to tap into the growing demand for meat in China, South Korea, Japan and other Asian countries.

Washington lawmakers expressed concern that the purchasing company could squeeze the U.S. pork supply as more of the meat goes overseas while leaving the U.S. susceptible to food safety concerns that have plagued Chinese companies, including Shuanghui.

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