Hormel Foods

Cropping Innovations for Beef, Poultry and Swine Feed

Company Background
Hormel Foods Corporation, based in Austin, Minn., is a global branded food company with over $9 billion in annual revenue across more than 80 countries worldwide. Its brands include SKIPPY®, SPAM®, Hormel® Natural Choice®, Applegate®, Justin’s®, Wholly®, Hormel® Black Label®, Columbus®, Happy Little Plants® and more than 30 other beloved brands. The company is a member of the S&P 500 Index and the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats, was named on the “Global 2000 World’s Best Employers” list by Forbes magazine for three straight years, is one of Fortune magazine’s most admired companies, has appeared on Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s “The 100 Best Corporate Citizens” list for 11 years in a row, and has received numerous other awards and accolades for its corporate responsibility and community service efforts.

As a leading corporate citizen, Hormel Foods has a strong supply chain program that explores best practices in environment, water, energy and impact throughout its supply chain, which includes a network of farm partners, including pork, beef, turkey and chicken producers. The company has made significant progress specifically related to climate and energy conservation.

Open Innovation Challenge
We are seeking insight and partnership strategies to expand incorporation of regionally appropriate small grains such as oats and cover crops in corn/soy production systems with the aim of reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint and improving the water stewardship of crops used in beef, turkey, chicken and/or swine feed.

Reason for Seeking External Innovation Partnership
Hormel Foods is working on multiple fronts to reduce our Scope 3 GHG emissions and improve water stewardship in our supply chains.  The development and adoption of beef, poultry and swine feed that incorporates small grains and cover crops in production systems will be rooted in innovation by animal producers who grow their own feed, grain growers that supply feed or ingredients for commercial sale, and stakeholders in the supply chain to bring such feed to market.  These innovations also need to be coupled with thoughtful farm risk management strategies related to agronomics, marketability, potential impacts on animal yield gain, and the performance of rotation and cover crops in generating favorable environmental outcomes, among other factors. 

Input from farm-based organizations, agronomists, animal nutritionists, environmental scientists, grain handlers and crop commercialization strategists will help illuminate new pathways and innovations toward beef, poultry and/or swine feed production that incorporate small grains and/or cover crops.

Scope of Solution Space

  • Insight into the agronomic feasibility and production challenges of incorporating small grain rotation and cover crops into corn/soy production systems for use in beef, swine and poultry feed
  • Insight on the farm revenue, operating cost, capital investment and farm management implications of incorporating additional rotation crops and cover crops into corn/soy systems.
  • Identification of potential risks to crop farmers and beef/poultry/swine producers associated with these cropping systems and of feed that incorporates alternative crops.
  • Approaches to de-risk adoption by crop and beef, poultry and swine producers, including insight on potential ramifications on the cost and performance of resulting feed for animal producers.
  • Insight on GHG and water stewardship improvements that could be achieved through adoption of longer rotations and cover cropping in grain systems targeted to feed production.
  • Strategies to support commercialization of these rotation crops, covers, and beef, poultry and swine feed that incorporates them, including needs related to off-farm systems and infrastructure to process, store and bring product to market if feed is used in locations other than the farm where it is grown and milled.
  • Identification of partnership or collaborative opportunities with programs of similar focus
  • Pilot program options to incorporate and test concepts

Innovation Solutions Not of Interest

  • Funding proposals

Proposal Response Date Deadline   
August 28, 2020

Website Link  
https://www.hormelfoods.com/ or  www.boldopenmn.com

Contact Information    

In 1891, George A. Hormel founded Hormel Foods in Austin, Minn. While we are proud of those small-town roots, we are excited as we continue to bring our iconic products to the global market. For more than 125 years, Hormel Foods has brought innovation, beloved brands and outstanding value to our consumers, customers, communities and shareholders. We are proud of this milestone but are motivated by our future. We remain focused on our purpose statement: Inspired People. Inspired Food.™ by building on our founder’s legacy of innovation, quality and integrity.