Building on ongoing sustainability and social responsibility efforts, JBS USA and Pilgrim's, American-based food companies, announced plans Thursday to invest $3.5 million in Minnesota to help local communities respond to coronavirus and invest in the future.
The investment is part of a new, national $50 million initiative called Hometown Strong that adds to commitments JBS USA and Pilgrim's have made this year to protect employees and ensure their job security amid the global pandemic.
"The rural towns and communities where we live and work are the key to our success, and we are proud of our role as a large employer in Worthington and Pipestone," says Bob Krebs, president of JBS USA Pork, which includes the pork facilities in Worthington and Pipestone. "We are grateful to work with local producers, local businesses and our communities to deliver high-quality pork to Americans across the country."
"The coronavirus pandemic has created challenges for society that no one could have predicted," says Fabio Sandri, Pilgrim's interim president and CEO. "The Hometown Strong initiative is one of the ways we are helping our communities respond to those challenges and build for the future."
JBS USA and Pilgrim's will partner with local officials and community leaders in Worthington, Pipestone and Cold Spring to identify investment projects that strengthen these hometowns where the company's team members live and work.
"The COVID-19 crisis has dramatically affected our rural communities, and especially some plant communities, in the most extreme ways," says U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson. "I'm pleased to see JBS USA and Pilgrim's recognize the partnership they have with the towns in which they operate and invest in those local communities."
JBS USA and Pilgrim's have a significant presence in Minnesota, employing more than 3,400 people and paying producers nearly $920 million each year to support the area facilities, including pork facilities in Worthington and Pipestone, and a chicken facility in Cold Spring. An important contributor to the Minnesota economy, JBS USA and Pilgrim's have an annual payroll in Minnesota of more than $196 million and have contributed nearly $60 million in capital investments over the last five years.
Nationally, the $50 million investment — one of the largest of its kind being made — will include donations to alleviate food insecurity, strengthen long-term community infrastructure and well-being, and support COVID-19 emergency response and relief efforts. All funds will be committed by the end of the year.
JBS USA and Pilgrim's anchor dozens of rural communities — operating more than 60 meat, poultry and prepared foods plants and employing 62,000-plus people. JBS USA and Pilgrim's have invested more than $100 million to enhance safeguards for team members and nearly $100 million to reward them with thank-you bonuses and increased wages. This includes hiring more than 1,000 new team members to conduct additional, around-the-clock sanitation and cleaning services, and to provide education, training and enforcement of COVID-19 preventive measures.