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Friday, October 1, 2004

Nashville, Tenn. -- Hormel Foods Corporation Chairman and CEO Joel W. Johnson today was honored with the American Meat Institute’s (AMI) highest award: the Industry Advancement Award. The award was presented during AMI’s Annual Convention and Innovation Showcase, Sept. 30-Oct. 2, at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Convention Center.

Johnson was honored for a 37-year career in the meat industry that has spanned four decades and helped to transform a traditional, Midwestern meat processor into a global innovator. In presenting the award, AMI Chairman Stewart Owens, chairman, president and CEO of Bob Evans Farms, Inc., called Johnson a ‘chief brand steward’ for both his company and the industry, noting that he has simultaneously transformed both Hormel and the U.S. meat and poultry industry.

“Under his leadership, Hormel has become a leading provider of value-added foods, which now account for 76 percent of all the company’s revenues. Hormel has also grown to become the nation’s leading turkey processor – and helped bring turkey to America’s tables year round,” Stewart said. “Joel also has overseen expansion into a number of new ethnic cuisines like Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean, Asian and Indian which, quite literally, have spiced up our nation’s meat cases.”

According to Owens, during the 1990s, China underwent a political transformation and experts noted the need for companies to invest in the country to help stabilize it long-term “Under Joel’s leadership, Hormel was a pioneer in China, building two major processing plants in Beijing and Shanghai. Not only was the decision good for Hormel, it was good for China – and good for our industry’s long-term business prospects in the world's fastest growing market,” he said.

His company’s success has been noted widely. During Johnson’s tenure, Hormel was named one of America’s Best Big Companies in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 and has twice been named Wal-Mart’s supplier of the year.

His peers have recognized his leadership abilities, electing him the 1998 chairman of the American Meat Institute. In that role, Owens said he was a “steadying force” in challenging times who exhibited “high standards and his characteristic determination.”

Johnson has announced his intention to retire at some point next year. “We admire you for your many business accomplishments. We appreciate your contributions to the industry and to the Institute. And we are pleased to recognize you as this year's recipient of the American Meat Institute Industry Advancement Award.”

The American Meat Institute was founded in 1906 and is the nation's oldest and largest meat and poultry trade association. It represents the interests of packers, processors, and suppliers of beef, pork, lamb, veal, and turkey products in North America. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Institute provides regulatory, legislative, technical, scientific, educational, and public relations services to the industry.

For more information contact:
Dave Ray
Vice President, Public Affairs
Janet Riley
Sr. VP, Public Affairs

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