Applegate Farms (Hormel Foods)

Farm/Brand HeadquartersBridgewater, NJ
ProductsChicken, turkey
Market AreaNationwide
Total Score755

Applegate Farms is one of the rare large brands that was transparent on Cornucopia’s investigative survey. They have very little control or knowledge about what goes on in the farms they receive their poultry from, but they do require certain levels of third party animal welfare labeling, which allowed investigators to determine the minimum levels their farms are likely to operate under. We commend Applegate for being transparent in a world where industrial agriculture consistently operates in secret, behind closed doors.

TOTAL (possible score is 1800) 755
3-Bird Rating | Very Good
Family Farms and cooperatives receive the most points. Corporations and companies with poor or negligible farm oversight receive the fewest points.
Ownership structure
60Independent corporate subsidiary with no close contact to supplier farms
100% organic brands receive the most points. Split operations receive fewer with increased penalties for poor segregation at the processor and farm level.
Dedication to Organic Production
40Brand markets both organic and conventional poultry products with good segregation at processing level
Farms that participated in Cornucopia’s research providing full transparency receive the most points.
Transparency and Disclosure
70Responsive and transparent to inquiries when the majority of brands at their level refused to participate
Points determined by integrity of the brand’s organic certifier.
Organic Certifier
75Quality Assurance International (QAI)
To receive full points, flocks must number 500 birds or fewer (200 for turkeys).
Flock size
20Gets birds from supplier farms that meet GAP Step 3 with no direct control or knwoleedge of supplier flock sizes
No more than 1.5 lbs of bird per square foot is required for full points.
Stocking Density
30Stocking density not controled by company; controled by suppliers meeting other certifications. Likley moderate stocking densities based on other welfare certifications, generally no more than 5lbs per square foot.
Mobile housing receives the highest number of points.
Housing Style
40Static barns likely used by suppliers, though legitimate outdoor access is required by the brand's other certifications.
Heritage varieties receive the highest number of points.
Strain and/or Breed and Slaughter Age
Strains consistent with fast-growing meat broilers
Birds must spend 3/4ths or more of their lives outdoors for full points.
Timing for Outdoor Access
30Requires outdoor acess at 4 weeks of age
Enrichments include but are not limited to shade structures, water, novel feedstuff (greens, mealworms, sprouted grains), and dust baths.
Enrichments (outdoor and indoor)
30Brand uses supplier farms that lijkley use some enrichments, but the extent is unknown.
Points awarded for labels that go above and beyond organic.
Other Labels/Standards
40All Applegate organic chciken is third-party certified by either GAP (Step 3) and/or Certified Humane Farm Animal Care. They are also Non-GMO Project Verified.
Maximum points given for high quality, rotated pasture. Non-rotated pasture adjacent to fixed housing with lower than 90% vegetative cover receives fewer points.
Outdoor Management
30In general their suppliers are required to have at a minimum 25 percent vegetative cover, more if they are Certified Humane
100 points for on-farm production and/or milling of feed. Fewest points given to feed that cannot be verified as domestic and/or birds get poor or no supplementation from outdoor foraging.
Feed Sourcing
30All Applegate organic chicken is also Non-GMO certified with respect to their feed; otherwise feed sourcing is controled by their suppliers, making sourcing difficult to track and variable.
Methionine needs met by outdoor foraging receives 100 points. Synthetic supplementation receives 70 points.
Synthetic Methionine
70Supplements 2.5lbs for broiler chickens and/or 3lbs in turkeys (the maximum allowed by organic regulations)
Under 5% cull and death rate required for full points.
Cull/death Rate
50Suppliers stay below 5% mortalisty rate if GAP certified, but no requirements for culls from suppliers
Chicks and poults that are certified organic since hatching, or are hatched on-farm receive 100 points. Off-farm or conventional chicks and poults receive 70 points.
Chick and Poult Sourcing
70Suppliers purchase chicks/poults from conventional hatcheries (allowed practice in organic production)
No physical alterations required for full points. Permitting beak tipping results in fewer points.
Physical Alterations
20Physical alterations may be performed by supplier farms
Measures farm oversight. Farmer owned brands, or daily visits by management required for maximum points.
Farm Support
50PAACO-certified animal welfare expert employees visit anually.
Non-scoring, category provided for information only.
Slaughter Method (non-scoring)
A variety of methods are used by suppliers
Non-scoring, category provided for information only.
Soy Free Ration? (non-scoring)
Maximum transparency, sharing of the organic systems plan, and/or novel practices that sets the brand apart from the rest of the industry can result in extra credit points.
Extra Credit