Blue Buffalo buys more land near new pet food plant

Blue Buffalo agreed to pay US$267,974 for 35.9 acres. Blue Buffalo initially purchased 89 acres.

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(Masarik | BigStock.com)
(Masarik | BigStock.com)

Blue Buffalo plans to purchase more land near the pet food company’s Heartland Pet Food manufacturing and R&D plant located in Richmond, Indiana, USA, reported the Palladium-Item on January 9. Blue Buffalo agreed to pay US$267,974 for the land.

Blue Buffalo initially purchased 89 acres in Richmond’s Midwest Industrial Park. The additional purchase will include 35.9 acres of land, bringing the total to 124.9 acres. The land is adjacent to the Norfolk Southern Railroad.

Blue Buffalo hasn’t finalized plans for how the land will be used, according to Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County president Valerie Shaffer. The land may be used by the pet food company for their own purposes, or leased to one of their suppliers.

Since  land-use plans haven’t been finalized, no economic incentives were offered for the land. For the initial purchase, Blue Buffalo received US$1.6 million in state incentives, along with a US$1 million railroad spur and US$3.7 million for road upgrades. Blue Buffalo has already begun hiring for the plant.

History of Blue Buffalo’s Heartland Pet Food plant

In June 2016, Blue Buffalo announced the acquisition of land for its new Heartland Pet Food Manufacturing complex on 89 acres in Richmond, Indiana, according to a Blue Buffalo press release. The complex will include a pet food manufacturing plant, an R&D facility and an attached warehouse. Construction began in September 2016. Production of BLUE Natural pet food is expected to begin at the site in 2018.

Heartland Pet Food in Richmond, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Blue Buffalo Company, will produce dry dog and cat food and become the second company-owned manufacturing facility for Blue Buffalo, with the first pet food facility located in Joplin, Missouri.

The investment in Blue Buffalo’s Indiana location will be approximately $150 million dollars. When completed, the Heartland pet food plant will create approximately 165 jobs in Richmond.

"This new, state of the art addition to our manufacturing network will complement our facility in Missouri," said Chairman and Founder Bill Bishop in a press release. “We expect to further increase our internal production capacity and now will have two of the most modern manufacturing facilities in the pet food industry…We are also very proud of our plan to create over 160 full time jobs and look forward to being an upstanding partner in the Richmond community."

Regional growth in pet food manufacturing

Blue Buffalo joins three other pet food companies with facilities in Wayne County, where Richmond is located, reported local news outlet FOX59.

Multiple sites were evaluated as a possible home for the plant, according to Blue Buffalo. Richmond, which lies 70 miles east of Indianapolis, won out for a several reasons.

"The town of Richmond really impressed us,” according to Kurt Schmidt, Blue Buffalo's CEO. “The location of Richmond is ideal for Blue Buffalo, and this coupled with the strong work ethic embedded here in Richmond made this the perfect choice for us. We look forward to being a part of the community for many years to come.”

Blue Buffalo will invest more than US$100 million in the new plant’s construction and outfitting at 4748 Industries Road. The plant will then create jobs in food processing, quality control and management.

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