State and civic leaders joined Scoular executives in Seward, Neb., in early August to celebrate the groundbreaking for a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. The facility establishes a new freeze-dried pet food ingredients business owned and operated by an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Scoular. More than $50 million will be invested to build the facility, which is expected to create nearly 100 new jobs once operational.
The 105,000-square-foot manufacturing facility will bring research and development, meat processing, freeze drying, and packaging together under one roof, creating nutritious and quality protein ingredients for pet food suppliers. The simplified ingredient supply chain provided by the new facility will meet the fast-growing demand for freeze-dried protein ingredients.
The location provides an advantage considering the facility's proximity to raw material suppliers. According to Scoular, these raw materials include frozen beef, chicken or salmon, mixed with dry ingredients as specified by customers — and Scoular anticipates most of the frozen beef and chicken ingredients could be sourced from Nebraska suppliers.
The facility will receive the protein or dry ingredients already processed as frozen meats. Then, they are manufactured and packaged into freeze-dried protein ingredients.
Construction of the facility at the Seward/Lincoln Regional Rail Campus is estimated to take about 14 months, with the goal of being operational by fall 2020.
"We are continually identifying new ways to meet our customers' needs and help solve their business requirements," Scoular CEO Paul Maass said. “This new facility reflects this commitment, as one of the first in the country to bring multiple phases of the freeze-drying manufacturing process under one roof for the pet food industry. The positive response of the Seward community continually reaffirms the decision to build and operate the facility here."
"Scoular is a homegrown Nebraska company that has been creating jobs in our state since the 1800s," Gov. Pete Ricketts said. "The groundbreaking of the freeze-drying facility is an exciting day for Seward. It's another example of the manufacturing strength and economic growth that has helped Nebraska lead the nation in new investments each of the last three years."
"It's a great day for Seward as we welcome a new community partner," Seward Mayor Josh Eickmeier said. "We appreciate the investment in the facility as the flagship business in our rail campus, and we look forward to growing with this business for years to come."
The groundbreaking ceremony was followed by a celebratory luncheon in Seward.
As part of preparing for the facility's operations, a temporary research and development lab has been established in Seward. It will serve as the headquarters for the operations in Seward until the new manufacturing facility is complete, as well as work with pet food customers to create solutions to identified challenges.
Hiring for the manufacturing facility will be a phased approach and is expected to begin in early 2020. Information will be provided to the community about employment opportunities in advance.
To learn more about the project and see progress updates, visit scoular.com/freeze-dried.