Thursday, June 8, 2006
breaks ground in Byhalia
By SUE WATSON
Top leaders in the state, including Gov. Haley Barbour, and local officials gave a Cargill Animal Nutrition a big welcome Tuesday at groundbreaking ceremonies at the new plant site on Highway 178 east of Byhalia.
“It is a great day for Marshall County and a great day for the state of Mississippi,” proclaimed Bill Renick, in opening remarks.
“Scooter (Dempsey) is probably the proudest mayor in Marshall County today.”
Dempsey, in introducing top leadership who made the location of Cargill in Byhalia a dream come true, praised Cargill.
“It’s companies like this that make this state a great place to live,” he said.
Renick, executive director of Marshall County Industrial Development Authority, took care to thank Barbour and his office, the planning and development districts and the Appalachian Regional Commission for putting together the finances to lay the necessary infrastructure to help Cargill relocate its Animal Nutrition facility from Memphis to Byhalia. Dirt moving is already underway to prepare the construction site.
“Without them it would be practically impossible to accomplish this feat,” Renick said.
Christopher Langholz, vice president of Cargill Animal Nutrition in Minneapolis, Minn., praised Byhalia as a great choice to locate one of its premier plants.
“You did a fantastic job presenting yourself to Cargill,” he said to state and local leadership.
Langholz noted the professional manner, pro-active approach and direct way in which the Marshall County Industrial Authority presented the county and Byhalia to Cargill.
“This is the result of the work of many, many people - Gov. Barbour, Scooter and his team, Sarah Sawyer and the Chamber of Commerce, Rep. Tommy Woods,” he said. “And big thanks to Bill Renick - point person.”
Langholz recognized Cargill’s employees, saying they are special people.
“We have the honor of working with a great company and I want you to carry Cargill’s name into the community,” he told employees.
The Byhalia facility will be one of only 200 of Cargill’s Animal Nutrition facilities worldwide. It is designed to have annual capacity of 120,000 tons. It will be a full feed manufacturing facility with a main focus on equine feeds. The mill will also produce feed for cattle, hogs, poultry, lambs, goats and game birds. The new mill will be designed to utilize technology that ensures uniform particle size to enhance product quality. It is scheduled to begin producing by July 31, 2007.
The Byhalia plant will have a staff of 30 production, sales and administrative personnel.
“Our biggest thanks go to our customers in this area,” Langholz said, calling them loyal, and adding that the customer base in the area gave Cargill a lot of confidence in coming to Byhalia.
Barbour acknowledged the good work of Renick, whom he said “deserves the most credit” for brokering the agreement between Cargill and the county.
“One of the nice things about being governor is you get to do nice things like this,” Barbour said.
He praised Mississippi for bouncing back after Hurricane Katrina and attracting new jobs to the state.
With 70,000 people qualifying for unemployment after Katrina, the state has bounced back recovering half the jobs lost or about 38,000, he said.
Barbour called the recovery of jobs in the wake of Katrina “a tribute to the leadership in the state.”
He praised Cargill - a 140-year-old, privately owned company that operates in 60 countries - as a premier company.
“Yet, they decided to build this ultra-modern mill in Byhalia, Mississippi, which says something about our state and our people,” he said.
Funding for infrastructure included a half million dollars from the Appalachian Regional Commission and half a million from the Mississippi Development Authority. Cargill is investing nearly $18 million in the new facility.
Barbour called it a good deal because Cargill put up the bulk of the investment.
“This is their investment,” he said.
“We’ll be back. There’s more to come in North Mississippi and Marshall County.”
“We truly appreciate the Governor being here, today,” he said. “And I can tell you truthfully, the next five years you are going to be here a lot more.”
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