AUSTIN EDITION - U.S. Senate OKs $4 million for Hormel Foods

Funds earmarked for DOD project

By Lenora Chu

The U.S. Senate approved a $369 billion defense spending bill this week that included $4 million in funding for Hormel Foods of Austin for its Casting Emissions Reduction Program.

The program is an ongoing initiative to develop lighter, more environmentally friendly materials to help the Department of Defense transform the U.S. military into a lighter, quicker fighting force.


The project involves a new process of casting metal parts that use animal-based protein products rather than the petrochemical product that is the industry standard. The process was developed by Hormel in conjunction with General Motors several years ago.

Called GM bond, this organic product emits only 5 percent of the polluting emissions that result from the petrochemical process, said John Schneck, a Snow Communications consultant working on the project.

"The animal-based protein is environmentally superior," Schneck said. "There are a number of known carcinogens" -- such as benzene -- "that are produced when you heat petrochemicals."

Also included in the Senate's bill is $100 million for 13 defense-related projects and programs based in Minnesota, including Honeywell's work on the Tomahawk Cruise Missile's navigation system and 3M's work on aluminum technologies.

"Minnesota companies have played key roles in forging America's military preeminence," Sen. Mark Dayton said in a written statement. "This legislation will continue their strong involvement."

Dayton, who requested the funding as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the allocations will translate into new jobs in Minnesota.

Two Navy surveillance-related projects at Eagan, Minn.-based Lockheed Martin were also approved and granted $44 million in funding.

The bill also funds an across-the-board pay raise of 4.1 percent for military service members and $700 million for new equipment for National Guard and Reserve Units.

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