AUSTIN, Minn. – Hormel Foods entered into a definitive agreement to sell the company’s pork processing plant in Fremont, Nebraska, to Brandon, South Dakota-based WholeStone Farms LLC, a group of more than 220 independent pig farmers.
The transaction includes a pork processing plant and a multi-year agreement to supply pork raw materials to Hormel. The transaction is expected to close in December pending customary closing conditions. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
“The Fremont facility has been an important part of our company for decades, and we are certainly pleased to have found a home for this team and facility with WholeStone Farms,” said Jim Snee, chairman of the board, president and CEO at Hormel Foods. “The strategic decision to transition the Fremont facility to WholeStone Farms reflects the long-term, changing dynamics in the pork industry, and most importantly, is aligned with our vision as a global branded food company.”
The independent farmers of WholeStone Farms raise 12 million pigs a year and farm nearly 400,000 acres of cropland. Dr. Luke Minion, chairman of the board of directors of WholeStone Farms, said additional investments in the plant will be made in the future.
“The purchase of the Fremont, Nebraska, processing facility from Hormel Foods aligns with our vision to create and capture value in the pork supply chain for the 220 independent producers who own WholeStone Farms,” said Dr. Luke Minion, chairman of the board of directors of WholeStone Farms. “We value the dedication and experience the existing team brings to WholeStone Farms and are committed to significant additional investments in the facility for production efficiencies and enhancing employee wellness.”
The current plant management team at the Fremont plant and the employees will remain in place to maintain continuity for customers.
“We look forward to working with WholeStone Farms to ensure a smooth transition for our employees, suppliers and customers,” said Glenn Leitch, executive vice president of supply chain at Hormel Foods. “A multiyear supply agreement with WholeStone Farms ensures the Fremont facility will continue as an integral part of our supply chain in the future. Our focus continues to be on ensuring a stronger supply chain from procurement to shipment of products, fully optimizing our system to create an efficient, enterprise-wide structure to keep pace with the growing needs of our business.”