RDA Happenings April 2015
Posted on April 1, 2015 – By Emporia RDA
Many years ago I attended a meeting of the Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC), which is the lead economic development marketing group for the Kansas City Area. This includes both the Missouri and Kansas and counties as far west as Shawnee County (Topeka).
Bob Marcusse was giving the history of the development of the Animal Health Corridor. He equated the corridor as “finding a twenty-dollar bill in a favorite pair of summer shorts at the end of a long winter.”
Many of the KC area business leaders engaged in animal health and nutrition stated that the region from Manhat-tan, Kansas to Columbia, Missouri and from St. Joseph, Missouri to Emporia, Kansas was a large concentration of the sector strongly suggested that Animal Health had a significant industry cluster. As a result KCADC began tar-geting the expansion and recruitment of that cluster.
According to the KCADC website http://kcanimalhealth.thinkkc.com/about it states the following: “In 2014 the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor released new evidence of the global impact of the KC region’s animal health industry concentration. Companies with a strategic location in the KC Animal Health Corridor now represent 56% of the total worldwide animal health, diagnostics and pet food sales.”
The RDA has been a member of the KCADC Animal Health Corridor for over five years now. We have received several project leads over the years and have had prospect visits to the community. Clearly it has been a strategic alliance and our web page is linked to their main webpage.
The concentration of Pet Food Nutrition in terms of employment and production has Lyon County and Emporia as in the top five if not the leader in the state.
This information is validated in a report dated January 2014 from the Wichita State University, Center for Eco-nomic Development and Business Research entitled, “Kansas Animal Food Manufacturing” http://www.cedbr.org/content/2014/KSAnimalFoodMfg.pdf.
In the overview on page 2, it states, “The sector is highly concentrated in Kansas, predominantly in northeast part of the state.” And further states, “The productivity of Kansas workers in this industry rose above the national av-erage in 2011.”
On page 3 of the report is a map of Kansas Animal Food Manufacturing Emporia in 2011. Emporia is located in Lyon County which has 250 to 499 employees. From the RDA most recent manufacturer’s survey and the total employees at Simmons Pet Food, Hill’s Pet Nutrition and Cargill Pet Food is 533 workers. With Simmons recent expansion, more employees will be hired in the next several quarters.
Emporia has a significant cluster of pet nutrition companies.
On April 8th Hostess Brands had the third ribbon cutting in two years. Apollo Global Capital group and Metropou-los & Associates purchased the closed plant from the bankruptcy court. Since taking possession of the Emporia plant they have invested nearly $60 million in equipment and constructed a warehouse addition. The number of team members are nearly 500. It is the “flagship plant” and is the only one producing Twinkies.
Dean Metropoulos stated at the ribbon cutting that “It’s been a great partnership. It’s the model of how business and communities should work together. Most importantly it is the work ethic of our local communities and folks here”.
We look forward to working with Hostess Brands and their team members in the future with more growth to come.