The company is reportedly expecting to invest about $4.2m in the new site. The project has taken about three years to complete, said Jason Pendleton, president and owner of Performance Livestock and Feed and is running on a tight timeline to meet current deadlines.
“We’re hoping we’re going to open a retail station there by October of this year, and have storage and the rail line by January and hopefully [will be] manufacturing feed there by June 2017,” he told FeedNavigator.
The new facility was of interest to better provide for the company’s current market and allow for expansion, said Pendleton.
The manufacturer has one operating feed production facility, which is located in North Carolina, he said. The mill in Lawsonville was built in 2004-05 and was operating at capacity when it opened.
The new site will not replace any of the production being carried out at the existing plant, he said.
“We’re going to keep both facilities; we’re adding production instead of moving it,” said Pendleton. “[It will] increase output by 50%. Current output is about 200 tons a day approximately.”
Most of the feed the company manufactures is cattle feed, but they do make speciality feeds including products aquaculture on request, he said. “[It’s about] 75% cattle feed and then 25% horse, goat, sheep, chicken and specialty items,” he added.
The new location will have a feed retail store because that part of Virginia was not previously covered, he said, although the company did have dealers in other parts of the state.
Additionally, the plant will look to source the majority of the grain used from producers in Virginia, he said. The original plant was located for its access to agricultural products as it cuts down on transportation costs.
“This allows us to use a lot more local grain and we’re going to try to use as much Virginia produce as possible,” he said. “The biggest part of the product will be Virginia sourced.”
Before selecting the new location the company assessed several alternative locations both in Virginia and in North Carolina, where the company’s current facility is located, said Pendleton. The two states are neighbors.
The site was selected for multiple reasons including its proximity to current company facilities and access to gas and energy utilities, he said. It also offers access to a rail line.
“It’s a repurposed furniture plant that was shut in the early 2000s,” he said. “We were trying to repurpose one of these plants for production, we were able to do this and hopefully it will be a cost saving and put some people to work in Henry County.”
The site will provide opportunities to store, mix and pelletize feed, said Pendleton. Additionally it will offer the capability to mix custom feeds and pellets upon request, which is work the company has previously done.
“As long as it’s an ingredient that we have and a nutritionist has signed off on it,” he said of making custom feeds. The company has added a staff nutritionist to engage with customers about feed formulation and the company encourages farmers to use their own grain and forages.
“Our job is to keep these producers in business so we can have a long term relationship into the future,” he said.