Pending approval of state and local incentives, ConAgra Foods plans a $50 million expansion at its Waterloo MidPort Industrial Park production plant, in Cedar Valley, Iowa.
The company makes consumer snacks marketed under the Snack Pack and Swiss Miss brand names at its Waterloo facility. This proposed project will add DAVID snack seed production to its state-of-the-art manufacturing platform in Waterloo.
The proposed expansion project will include new construction of processing, packaging, warehouse, and administrative areas to accommodate the new product. This expansion is expected to increase the plant production by 30 percent, adding approximately 99,000 square feet to the existing facility. The new production line will create a highly automated, state of the art manufacturing platform designed to offer more flexibility in packaging options as business needs change.
“Waterloo is a great fit for ConAgra Foods and our new snack seeds facility. Waterloo has an excellent workforce and the location will allow us to meet our current and future business needs,” said Mike Tracy, Senior Vice President of Supply Chain for ConAgra Foods. “Selecting Waterloo, pending approval of state and local assistance, for this work was made possible through great partnerships between ConAgra Foods and local officials, and we look forward to having a continued presence in Waterloo."
The company is expected to increase its workforce by about 55 positions. Hawkeye Community College will support the proposed ConAgra Foods expansion through the Iowa Industrial New Jobs Training Program, which provides a funding mechanism for training new employees. The value of the training incentive is estimated to be approximately $536,000.
“Firms like ConAgra Foods have many options when deciding where to make large capital investments. We are excited that ConAgra Foods again chose to invest in the economy, workforce, and business climate of the Cedar Valley of Iowa. It's exciting to have yet another nationally recognized brand added to the Cedar Valley by a Fortune 500 company," said Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber CEO, Steve Dust.
“Combining this major investment with the recent expansion of VGM and the location of Winnebago, the Cedar Valley economy continues to demonstrate its strength as a profitable, productive location to serve national and international markets. I congratulate Mayor Clark Noel Anderson and the Alliance & Chamber Economic Development team for this success for Waterloo and the Cedar Valley”, Dust added.
“The City of Waterloo is proud to continue our growing relationship with ConAgra Foods. This expansion is great for Waterloo's tax base and it adds new employment opportunities for the whole Cedar Valley area,” said Mayor Buck Clark, “Furthermore, ConAgra continues to strengthen and diversify its Waterloo location by adding yet another product line.”
The MidPort site was originally chosen in 1997 by ConAgra Foods to build a state-of-the-art plant to produce pudding packs. The current project under consideration would be the third expansion at the MidPort plant, continuing to prove that the Cedar Valley is a prime location for quality companies with jobs like those at ConAgra Foods.
ConAgra Foods officials have applied to the Iowa Economic Development Authority for state incentives, with action on the request expected at their board meeting on May 22 in Des Moines. The Waterloo City Council will consider necessary approvals during their May 26 meeting.
Pending approval of incentives, ground-breaking for this project is expected to take place in mid-June. The new operation could begin production by late 2016.