Hormel Foods Corp., Austin, Minn., contributed $26.8 million to its pension plans in April, the company said in its latest quarterly report. The company does not expect to make further contributions during fiscal year 2004, which ends Oct. 24, the report said. Net periodic benefit cost was $6.3 million for the three months and $12.9 million for the six months ended April 24, compared with a three-month expense of $3.4 million and a six-month expense of $6.8 million a year earlier, Hormel said. The company lowered its discount rate to 6.5% in 2003, down from 7% in 2002; the expected rate of return was dropped to 8.6% for 2003, down from 9.5% in 2002, according to the most recent annual report. Hormel recorded total pension plan assets of $87 million and total liabilities of $614 million on Oct. 25, 2003, according to its annual report.