– The U.S. Defense Department on Friday plans to recognize Wayzata-based Cargill for exemplary treatment of military reservists and members of the National Guard, as well as veterans.

Cargill is among 15 companies chosen from a pool of 3,064 nominees to receive the 2017 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis cited the companies for going beyond minimal requirements in the treatment of their military employees.

Among its programs, Cargill offers military employees a specific veterans and military support group. The company has flexible workplace policies aimed at accommodating duty requirements of military reservists and National Guard members.

In hiring, Cargill devotes one of its personnel recruiting jobs specifically to finding employees with military experience and includes military service members as a category of workforce diversity.

Employees have nominated the company for Defense Department recognition the past three years. This year’s winning nomination was submitted by Traci Earls. She works as general manager of Cargill’s protein plant in Butler, Wis. Earls also serves as a lieutenant colonel in the Kansas Army National Guard.

Earls traveled to Washington to participate in Cargill’s reception of the award.

In a news release, Cargill CEO David MacLennan praised the “diverse experiences and global perspectives” military employees bring to their jobs. He called for “all corporate leaders to work together and share best practices because unemployment is still higher for veterans than for the general population.”

Other recognized companies were: Marlborough, Mass.-based Boston Scientific, which has significant operations in the Twin Cities; Accordia Urgent Care & Family Practice of Vidalia, Ga.; Comcast NBC of Philadelphia; CSI Aviation of Albuquerque, N.M.; Hensel Phelps Construction Co. of Greeley, Colo.; the Howard County, Md. Fire and Rescue Department; Indianapolis Fire Department; Johnson & Johnson of New Brunswick, N.J.; Mesa Natural Gas Solutions of Casper, Wyo.; the Centennial, Colo., district attorney’s office; Renown Health of Reno, Nev.; the Salt River Project in Tempe, Ariz.; Tesoro of San Antonio; and Zapata, Inc. of Charlotte, N.C.