Company News: Industry Supports Members Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

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As COVID-19 rapidly spreads across the U.S. and the rest of the globe, the agriculture industry is coming together to support each other. Here’s the latest news from around the industry. Farm Journal’s PORK will update this list as more information becomes available. For more on the novel coronavirus, visit   

Hormel Foods Announces Special Cash Bonuses for Plant Production Team Members

Hormel Foods has announced a special cash bonus to its plant production team members who continue to work tirelessly to produce food during the COVID-19 outbreak. The more than $4 million bonus will be paid to all full- and part-time plant production team members who have been working around the clock to ensure the company’s trusted brands and products are available during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a company release.

“As a global branded food company, we play a critical role in providing safe, high-quality food during this unprecedented time,” said Jim Snee, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer at Hormel Foods, in the release. “Our incredible team of more than 13,000 plant professionals is the backbone of our company and this special bonus is one way we can continue to thank them for how they have risen to the challenge and continue to produce food with a sense of purpose and pride.”

The bonus includes $300 for full-time team members and $150 for part-time team members. Additionally, the company has expanded its CARE Program employee assistance program fund and extended paid sick leave and waived waiting periods and eligibility requirements for certain benefits for its workforce, the release said.

Hormel Foods has also pledged $1 million in cash and product donations to assist nonprofits with their efforts during the COVID-19 outbreak. The company’s monetary and product donations will be made to global, national and local hunger-relief organizations, the release said.

Smithfield Foods Emphasizes Critical Role of Agriculture and Food Production Workers in Ongoing Supply of Food to American Families

Smithfield understands that continuing to deliver nutritious, delicious and affordable food, and protein specifically, to our communities is of vital importance, now more than ever. Food is an essential part of all our lives, and our more than 40,000 U.S. team members, thousands of American family farmers and our many other supply chain partners are a crucial part of our nation’s response to COVID-19, said Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and CEO, Smithfield Foods, in a release. At Smithfield, we are committed to keeping food on tables across America: today, tomorrow and every day, he said.

Purina Animal Nutrition Continues Operating and Delivering Feed Safely

Purina Animal Nutrition continues to operate and produce our products while navigating the uncharted territory of this national emergency, the company said in a release.

An internal working group has been established and is meeting daily to assess situational developments, implications on our business here and abroad and whether and how to institute additional reactive and proactive protocols. We are following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), local public health authorities and other regulatory agencies, the release said.

From a broader, company-wide standpoint, we are taking the following precautionary steps:

• Updating business continuity plans

• Monitoring ingredient and packaging inventory levels to ensure adequate supply

• Performing detailed daily cleaning and disinfecting

• Restricting driver contact to the maximum extent possible

• Barring all non-essential visitors’ access to facilities

• Requiring the majority of non-production employees work from home

• Restricting all meetings and non-essential travel

Hamlet Protein Takes Steps to Secure Safe Product Supply and Minimize Risk to Employees

Hamlet Protein, headquartered in Denmark with production in Denmark and U.S., is taking steps to secure product supply to customers and guaranteeing feed safety whilst minimizing the risk for employees, suppliers and customers, it said in a release.

“At Hamlet Protein we care about the safety and wellbeing of our stakeholders. So far, none of our colleagues have tested positive for COVID-19, and we are taking the necessary steps to minimize the risk of the virus affecting employees and business partners,” Erik Visser, Hamlet Protein CEO said in the release. “At the same time, we have commitments to customers around the world that rely on us to feed their animals. That means we are planning our activities in a smart way to make sure our production and supply chain continues to operate normally. Even though borders are closed in several European countries, the free movement of goods remains.”

Hamlet Protein products – whether in bulk, totes or bags - do not pose any risk for contamination with the Coronavirus, the release notes. The products have been steam heat treated at a minimum temperature of 96°C for a minimum duration of 6 minutes and are being produced in a closed system. Hamlet Protein manages clearly defined and strict hygiene guidelines for employees and contractors. Until further notice, external visitors are not allowed to enter the production facilities at the Hamlet Protein plant.