SIDNEY, Neb. (KNOP) - Today, Governor Pete Ricketts applauded plans from Ontario-based Agri-Plastics to invest in Sidney and hire Nebraskans. Corporate leaders expect the company’s first American production facility to begin operations by early 2018, which will enhance production efforts at Agri-Plastics’ two full-capacity plants in Canada.
Established in 1995, the company manufactures calf hutches and plastic products to support North America’s dairy industry. Agri-Plastics plans to hire more than 20 employees next month in the Sidney location for manufacturing and production jobs.
“Building Nebraska’s international profile is helping grow our state by attracting new investments in key industries like agriculture and manufacturing,” said Governor Ricketts. “During my discussion with Agri-Plastics’ CEO and President Darren VanBuuren in Canada, I had a unique opportunity to promote Nebraska’s skilled workforce, prime interstate access, and viable infrastructure as an ideal place to support their continued growth. We are excited the company chose Sidney for its first-ever production facility in the United States.”
The Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s (DED) recruitment team began building a relationship with the company last fall while attending the World Dairy Expo in Wisconsin, which draws nearly 850 companies to its annual trade show. When Agri-Plastics later expressed interest in locations near Interstate 80 within proximity to the growing dairy industry in the mountain states and upper Midwest, DED recruiters partnered with Sidney Economic Development to highlight available sites and buildings in the community. Western Nebraska’s dry, arid climate was also appealing to the company as a conducive environment for plastics production.
In June, company officials toured Sidney’s Commscope Building currently owned by Lukjan Metal Products. Members of both companies worked to facilitate a deal to sell Agri-Plastics a portion of the building for their new facility. A $4.5 million investment in the project will include the purchase of 159,000 SF of the 359,000 SF building, as well as new equipment for Agri-Plastics’ Sidney plant.
Recent efforts to facilitate new and ongoing investments between Nebraska and Canada provided an additional opportunity to promote Nebraska’s business climate. In August, Governor Pete Ricketts met with Agri-Plastics’ corporate leaders during Nebraska’s first-ever trade mission to Canada. Canada serves as Nebraska’s largest export market and is the state’s 4th largest agriculture export market.
Agri-Plastics is currently working with DED officials to complete a Site and Building Development Fund application for acquisition of the Sidney location, and is also applying for the state’s economic incentives program, Nebraska Advantage. In addition, city officials are working with the company to assist in project development through Sidney’s LB840 fund, which collects local taxes for economic growth.
“Support from state and local economic development officials facilitated Agri-Plastics’ vision to expand near the gateway to emerging dairy markets in the southwest and mountain states,” VanBuuren said. “While we considered growing our company in these other states, accessibility to Nebraska’s strong economic development programs and opportunities to build our workforce in Sidney are in line with our company’s goals for growth.”
“Fostering Nebraska’s relationships with our largest trading partner remains a top priority to grow our economy,” said DED Director Courtney Dentlinger. “This project is one example of the many successful partnerships built by our recruitment team to bring businesses and jobs to our communities. We appreciate Agri-Plastics’ commitment to offer new career opportunities in Sidney. Partnerships like this are essential in building Nebraska’s workforce. ”
Sidney’s Agri-Plastics production facility will specialize in products to expand the company’s calf-housing line. Agri-Plastics’ 200,000 square foot facilities in its Grassie and Stoney Creek, Ontario, manufacturing plants are currently at full capacity. Both facilities specialize in starter pens, indoor calf pens, calf hutches, poly-farm equipment, custom rotomolding, and additional products.