Hormel Foods Corporation (HRL) is a dividend all-star. The company has paid a dividend for 84 consecutive years. This Zacks #2 Rank (buy) also expects to grow earnings in fiscal 2012 despite tough macro-economic conditions.

Hormel Foods manufactures various food and meat products. The company, founded in 1891, owns well-known consumer brands such as Jennie-O, SPAM, Hormel, and Dinty Moore.

Another Year, Another Dividend

Through depressions, wars and assassinations, one thing has been certain: Hormel's dividend.

On Nov 21, Hormel announced it would pay its 334th consecutive dividend on Feb 15, 2012 to shareholders of record as of Jan 23, 2012. That's 84 years of rewarding shareholders.

Not only that, it was raising the yearly dividend 17.6% to 60 cents from 51 cents per share. That will be the 46th annual dividend increase.

Currently, the dividend yields 1.7%.

Hormel Beat By a Penny in the Fiscal Fourth Quarter

On Nov 22, Hormel reported its fiscal fourth quarter 2011 results and surprised on the Zacks Consensus by a penny. Earnings per share were 43 cents compared to the 42 cent consensus.

Sales rose 2% to $2.1 billion from the fourth quarter of the year before. The Specialty Foods category was the standout, with operating profit up 12% and dollar sales up 10%.

The company saw tonnage fall compared with a year ago but 2011 was 13 weeks versus 14 weeks in 2010.

For the full year, sales rose 9% to a record $7.9 billion with volume up 1%. Jennie-O Turkey and Refrigerated Foods both saw strong years.

Hormel also posted record earnings for the year of $1.74.

Continued Growth in Fiscal 2012

Despite tough year over year comps after posting a record year and uncertain economic conditions, Hormel still expects further growth in 2012. It is forecasting the first half of the year to be tighter than the second half.

The Grocery Products, Specialty Foods and All Other (International) units are expected to boost results for the year.

Hormel gave an EPS guidance range of $1.79 to $1.89 per share.

Zacks Consensus Estimate Moves Higher

Given the 2012 guidance, the analysts have been adjusting their estimates. 10 have moved higher for fiscal 2012 in the last month, pushing the Zacks Consensus up to $1.82 from $1.78. This is within the company's guidance range.

It is also another 4.7% earnings growth.

Since the Great Recession, Hormel has steadily been increasing its earnings.

With Hormel, an investor is getting steady growth and a growing, but dependable, dividend yield.

Tracey Ryniec is the Value Stock Strategist for Zacks.com. She is also the Editor of the Turnaround Trader and Insider Trader services. You can follow her on twitter at traceyryniec.