Land O’Lakes: 'Southeast US offers the single biggest growth opportunity'

© iStock/DarcyMaulsy

Land O’Lakes is set to build a new feed manufacturing facility in Roanoke, Virginia with a goal of opening in December 2018.

The Minnesota-based company announced the decision to build the new facility on Tuesday.

Land O’Lakes would not disclose where the plant would be located, what sort of investment would be required or how many people might be employed in the facility. 

Becky Lentz, company spokesperson, told us: “The plans for this new project are evolving."

The new facility is set to produce Purina-brand feed for cattle, horses and other livestock animals, she said.

“The plant, like all our facilities, will follow our strict and industry-leading protocols for feed safety and quality."

Change of plan

However, the move to build the plant also appears to mark a shift away from its previously disclosed plan to acquire the feed assets of Southern States Cooperative.

“The company is looking to move more quickly in this strategic market than the discussions with Southern States allowed,” explained Beth Ford, group executive vice president and chief operating officer with Land O’Lakes.

The southeast region offers the “single biggest growth opportunity for our Purina animal nutrition business,” she added.

Land O’Lakes announced in November of 2016 that it had signed a letter of intent with the cooperative. That tie-up would have added their animal feed business to Land O’Lakes portfolio and was expected to be completed by January.

The letter of intent only 'opened the door' to a conversation around such a move, said Steve Patterson, senior VP of sales, marketing and communication at the Virginia-based farm supply and service cooperative, at the time.

The deal would have provided Land O’Lakes seven feed mills in several states including Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and Kentucky, he told us then. The cooperative produces about 900,000 tons of feed a year but struggled with brand awareness.

“Both companies believe it’s a good thing to do, particularly in the age of consolidation that we’re in,” he said.

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