Kemin Industries broke ground in early November to start construction of a new $17 million feed ingredient manufacturing facility in southeast Des Moines. The state-of-the-art plant will focus on the bioscience company's production of encapsulated amino acids used in livestock feed to increase animal production and efficiency.
FFA students from Ballard High School at Huxley were present; they brought some dairy heifers along, which were part of the display. The kids and the cows really stole the show. Kemin officials also had some very interesting things to talk about scientific advances the company workforce are discovering, developing and using to improve livestock feed, human nutrition, human health and to help feed the world. Kemin is truly an innovative, cutting-edge company in agricultural bioscience.
The construction project they broke ground on in early November is the Iowa-based firm's most recent development in its worldwide expansion plan. First announced in 2010, the plan called for an investment of approximately $40 million and committed to adding 98 jobs. Since then, the company has surpassed its commitment, adding approximately 140 full-time jobs. In September, it increased its initial investment to $125.5 million to support the additional growth. The new encapsulation manufacturing facility is expected to add 24 skilled positions at the operations and management level.
In addition to livestock nutrition, focus is also on human diet
The $125.5 million five-year expansion plan is the largest capital investment the family-owned and family controlled company has ever expended.
Kemin Industries, headquartered in Des Moines, is an expanding ag and bioscience company. It develops and uses new technology to improve ingredients for livestock feed. In addition to livestock nutrition, Kemin is focused on human food, health and personal care products, too.
"Our expansion plan in Des Moines, and around the world, is a reflection of our commitment to improve the quality of life of half the world's population by the end of the decade," said Dr. Chris Nelson, CEO and president of Kemin Industries. "But we can't do it alone. This new investment, the encapsulation facility, is for the hardworking farmers and producers who need help improving the nutritional efficiency of their feed. Together, we can provide safer, nutritious food to a growing world."
Improving livestock feed, human food, health and nutrition
The 16,000-square-foot manufacturing plant will house unique equipment that uses a proprietary process to coat and protect amino acids used in feed. The encapsulation provides targeted release of the nutrients in the animal's intestinal tract. The new facility allows Kemin to increase its global manufacturing capacity of encapsulated amino acids, a market the company believes is positioned for rapid growth.
The encapsulation facility is scheduled to be operational by November 2015. Further expanding its campus in Des Moines, Kemin will begin construction of a new global headquarters building in summer 2015, which will connect to its Molecular Advancement Center which opened in 2013.
A couple of dairy heifers were on display at the recent groundbreaking event, supplied by the Ballard FFA Chapter. "There's no doubt the technology that will be used at this new encapsulation facility will change how dairy cows are fed in the United States," said Nelson. "This will dramatically lower the cost of production. And it's going to mean for American families, and families throughout the world, a lower cost for food. At the end of the day, that's what Kemin is all about."
Food and health are tied together, as is feeding a hungry world
Chris Nelson expects Kemin to build two more manufacturing facilities, tied to new products, near the plant that is now under construction. The company has annual sales of $565 million and has continued to grow. In addition to livestock nutrition, Kemin provides products that help improve food freshness and extend shelf life. It makes the human personal care products using plant science -- natural ingredients extracted from crops, flowers etc.
The company has seen solid, steady growth over the years. "We're in the food industry. During boom times, people don't eat a lot more. And during recessions, people don't eat a lot less," says Nelson. "The food industry doesn't see big gains, but it also doesn't suffer." He says the company has grown steadily over the past 10 years because it has recruited talented workers to develop new products and provide those products to markets across the globe.
A privately held, family-owned and operated company, Kemin has 500 employees in Iowa and nearly 2,000 employees worldwide. It operates in more than 90 countries with manufacturing facilities in Belgium, Brazil, China, India, Italy, Singapore, South Africa and the United States. For more information visit www.kemin.com.