Kansas: Setting A Bountiful Table In The Heartland

As the nation’s top wheat producer, Kansas has long been an agribiz leader. The Sunflower State also is in the top tier for food manufacturing.

By the BF Staff
From the January/February 2021 Issue

Kansas, the nation’s breadbasket, is rapidly becoming a leader in food processing, with one major announcement following another in this growth sector in the state.

Empirical Foods recently broke ground on a new ground beef facility in Garden City, KS. The plant will bring 250 new jobs and more than $250 million in capital investment to Garden City and Finney County.

“After a long evaluation period to identify the perfect location for our new facility, we were pleased to settle on Garden City and could not have identified a better, more welcoming community,” said Nick Roth, president of Empirical Technology, Inc. “The State of Kansas, Garden City and the Finney County Economic Development Corporation have been excellent partners to the beef industry and companies like ours.”

Empirical Foods’ decision to expand was the result of increased demand for lean ground beef, requiring a significant boost in processing and manufacturing. When the location is fully operational, the Garden City facility will more than double Empirical’s ground beef production.

“Empirical Foods made a smart decision in choosing to do business in a community with so much to offer in excellent schools, infrastructure and quality-of-life amenities for employees and their families,” said Gov. Laura Kelly. “This major investment is another huge win in our state’s effort to secure our food systems, now and into the future,” said Secretary of Commerce David Toland.

Construction on the Garden City plant is expected to be finished between 2022 and 2023.

Earlier this year, Pretzels, Inc. announced that it will build a new 146,000-square-foot production facility at VenturePark in Lawrence, KS.

The new facility will increase the company’s capacity across a range of snack products and formats. The building is expected to be operational in late 2021.

Indiana-based Pretzels, Inc. makes a variety of flavored and stuffed pretzels for private label brands, and also sells pretzels under the Harvest Road brand snack items. Pretzels, Inc. worked with a number of regional partners on the project, including the Kansas City Area Development Council and KC SmartPort.

“The decision for Pretzels, Inc. to locate its production facility in Lawrence reinforces our region’s position as a top location for food and beverage manufacturing,” said Tim Cowden, president and CEO of the Kansas City Area Development Council. “More than 600 food and beverage companies call the region home, and our KC SmartPort team will continue to elevate KC’s proximity to agriculture markets, advanced logistics infrastructure and industry-specific talent as strategic advantages.”

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