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Jennie-O Turkey Store to close one plant and move to another Willmar, Minnesota, location

The Jennie-O Turkey Store plant on Benson Avenue Southwest is set to close this spring, a decision made by Hormel Foods, which owns Jennie-O. No layoffs are planned as workers will transition over to the Willmar Avenue location.

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Hormel Foods has announced the Jennie-O Turkey Store Benson Avenue plant will close in 2022, with employees being transferred to the Willmar Avenue location. The plant on Benson Avenue Southwest in Willmar is shown April 22, 2020. Erica Dischino file photo / West Central Tribune
Erica Dischino
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WILLMAR, Minnesota — The Jennie-O Turkey Store plant located on Benson Avenue in downtown Willmar will be closing in the first half of fiscal year 2022, according to a news release from Hormel Foods , which owns Jennie-O.

The news comes as Hormel reports double digit sales growth in every segment of the business in the fourth quarter.

The release said that team members at the plant on Benson Avenue will transition to the Willmar Avenue plant, which is both newer and larger than the Benson Avenue location. Production that is currently done at the Benson Avenue plant will be consolidated into multiple Jennie-O plants.

The release also said that Jennie-O Turkey Store's business functions will continue to be more broadly integrated into the Hormel Foods organization.

"Turkey and the Jennie-O brand play an important role in our diversification and growth strategy," said Jim Snee, Hormel chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer, in the release. "To further enhance the growth and profitability for this business, we are embarking on a series of actions to create more efficient, innovating and demand-oriented turkey portfolio."

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Net sales for Jennie-O products were up 23 percent in the fourth quarter over the fourth quarter 2020 and volume increased by 1 percent. The release said the continued recovery in food service, the strong demand for Jennie-O retail items and higher prices offset the negative impact from whole bird shipments earlier in the year. Higher feed costs and freight expenses had a negative impact on segment profit, which decreased 7 percent.

Overall, Hormel saw record net sales of $3.5 billion in the fourth quarter, up 43 percent from the same time last year. For the entire fiscal year 2021, Hormel had record net sales of $11.4 billion, a 19 percent increase over 2020.

"We delivered record sales and earnings this quarter with growth from every segment and channel," Snee said. "I'm extremely proud of how the entire team overcame numerous challenges to post these extraordinary results."

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


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