Austin, MN (KROC News) - Hormel Foods Tuesday announced 2016 was its 8th straight year of record earnings. Wednesday morning, hundreds of Hormel employees were rewarded with their annual profit-sharing checks.

The Austin-based company says the total this year is $17.5-million.That’s $300,000 lower than last year.

This marks the 78th year of the Thanksgiving Eve Day tradition.The profit sharing program was started by Jay C. Hormel in 1938 and is voluntarily paid at the discretion of the company's Board of Directors.

"We are proud to share the success of our company with the inspired people of Hormel Foods,” said Jim Snee president and chief executive officer at Hormel Foods. "Our profit sharing program is unique in the industry, and we are happy to be able to celebrate our continued success with our hard working employees."

Hormel-owned Jennie-O Turkey Store rewarded its employees Tuesday.The company’s profit-sharing total this year was a record $13-million, $2-million higher than last year.