Tag: Food and Agriculture

Delaware Agribusiness – Farming the 21st Century Way

Delaware Agribusiness – Farming the 21st Century Way

Local Ag R&D is growing; Farmland is increasingly protected

WILMINGTON, Del.July 19, 2019. The Delaware agribusiness sector is growing, as ag-science companies expand their presence and the state approves additional farmland preservation.

FMC Corporation plans to invest more than $50 million over the next three years in capital improvement projects, including a state-of-the-art reconfiguration of a greenhouse and research facility at the company’s Global Research and Development headquarters in Newark, Delaware.

Last month, FMC Corporation, an agricultural sciences company, announced a $50M investment to completely reconfigure a new greenhouse complex and perform other site improvements at its global R&D headquarters in Newark, Del. In May, Corteva Agriscience spun off from DowDuPont (keeping its Delaware headquarters) to become the leading agricultural sciences firm, with an estimated $14B in annual revenue. And last year, Belchim, a Belgian chemical crop protection company, established its U.S. headquarters in Delaware to capitalize on the state’s concentration of bioscience firms and talent.

To support the sector, Delaware Governor John Carney announced new farmland preservation. More than 25 percent of Delaware’s farmland (134,000 acres) is now permanently preserved, thanks to matching funds from multiple sources, including the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), the United States Navy’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program, Sussex County Council, New Castle County Council, and Kent County Levy Court.

Agribusiness in Delaware

Ag-science and Agtech are reinventing one of America’s legacy sectors – farming. That’s part of the reason Delaware has one of the nation’s most successful farm industries in the country. Ed Kee, DPP Board member and Delaware’s former Secretary of Agriculture explains, “Nothing can replace the experience, know-how, and powers of observation of the farmer.” In Delaware, agriculture is the single largest land use with nearly 40 percent of land across 2,500 farms devoted to agricultural production. And it pays off—in 2017, Delaware ranked second in the nation in per-farm sales, with an average of $637,000 per farm, which was significantly greater than the national average of $190,000 per farm.

Most farms in Delaware, 39 percent of the total, are between 10 to 49 acres and produce commodities such as lima beans, soy, corn, and wheat. In fact, Delaware produces the most lima bean of any state in the nation—more than one-third of the U.S. total. The annual harvest of more than 350,000 acres of corn and soybeans is used to produce chicken feed, with almost $1 billion of chicken feed ingredients purchased across the Delmarva Peninsula in 2017.

Poultry Production

Statewide, Delaware farmers produced 1.87 billion pounds of chicken in 2017. Sussex County, Delaware is the #1 producer of poultry and eggs in the nation. The county is considered the birthplace of the broiler chicken industry, and it continues to be the top broiler producing county in the United States. Poultry production companies like Mountaire Farms and Allen Harim Foods call the state home. Perdue Farms in Milford, Delaware is the nation’s largest USDA-certified organic chicken plant.

About Delaware Prosperity Partnership

Created in 2017, Delaware Prosperity Partnership (DPP) is the nonprofit that leads the state of Delaware’s economic development efforts to attract, grow and retain businesses, including agribusiness companies. DPP works with site selectors, commercial developers and business executives focused on where to locate or grow a business. The team helps with reviewing potential sites, cost-of-living analysis, quality-of-life intel and funding opportunities, including available tax credits and incentives. For more information, visit www.choosedelaware.com.

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Agribusiness Thrives in Delaware

Agribusiness Thrives in Delaware

5 AUGUST, 2019

Agribusiness companies are strengthening their foothold in Delaware as the state continues to be a favored destination for food production and agscience companies to invest in and grow. Agriculture in Delaware has been there since colonial times. Today, approximately 500,000 acres generates about $1.2 billion a year in cash farm sales. In Delaware, this noble industry produces food for the country and the world.

Agriculture is the driving force behind Delaware’s economy. Farming is still a family business in the First State. About 90 percent of farms are either sole or family proprietorships or family-owned corporations. Just under 40 percent of the state’s land is devoted to agricultural production, making it the predominant land use.

Major agribusiness companies continue to heavily invest in the state, generating jobs and furthering Delaware’s economy. Read on to learn how some of the leading businesses in the agribusiness industry are building a prosperous future in Delaware.

Dot Foods Plans its 12th Distribution Center in Delaware

Dot Foods, the largest food industry redistributor in North America, is setting up a new $36-million facility on 35 acres of land in Bear, Delaware to better serve its customers in Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. This new center will include more than 111,000 square feet of refrigerated, frozen and dry storage warehouse space, 12,600 square feet of office space, and a 9,700 square foot garage. They plan to employ 200 people by 2022.

JustFoodForDogs Finalizes Plans to Invest in New Castle County

JustFoodforDogs is the breakthrough innovator offering highly nutritious meals for dogs. Based in California for the last 8 years, JustFoodforDogs has finalized its plans to expand all over the country, including Delaware. It plans to set up its first Delaware kitchen spread over an expansive 21,000 square foot space in New Castle County. This is expected to employ 50 employees with an estimated payroll of $2.24M, producing 30,000 pounds of food daily to be distributed direct-to-consumer via online sales, as well as to JustFoodsforDogs pantries throughout the United States.

“JustFoodForDogs choosing Delaware reflects our state’s reputation for welcoming innovative businesses of all sizes, as well as Delaware’s solid experience and expertise in the food industry,” said Governor John Carney. “We are proud to be the first East Coast kitchen and we’re excited that their presence will create new jobs in New Castle County.”

Perdue Named “America’s Best-In-State Employers 2019”

Forbes has named Perdue Farms one of “America’s Best in-State Employers 2019” in North Carolina and Delaware. Perdue Farms, Perdue Foods, and Perdue Agribusiness have more than 6,000 employees in Delaware. Believing in responsible food and agriculture, they are empowering consumers, customers, and farmers through trusted choices in products and services. Their future is all about getting bigger and getting better.

FMC Plans Investment in Delaware

FMC Corporation, a publicly-traded agricultural sciences company, plans to invest more than $50 million over the next three years in capital improvement projects, including a state-of-the-art reconfiguration of a greenhouse and research facility at the company’s Global Research and Development headquarters in Newark, Delaware. A leader in developing agricultural products, FMC continues to contribute significantly to the economic progress of the First State.

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Dot Foods Plans to Open $36 Million Bear Distribution Center in Fall 2019

Dot Foods plans to open $36 million Bear distribution center in fall 2019


Dot Foods broke ground Tuesday on its dozenth distribution center and already has a trucking operation in place in Delaware.

The $36 million facility will be constructed on 35 acres in Bear, near Route 1.The 188,000-square-foot facility will be located at 301 American Boulevard, near the intersection of Red Lion and Wrangle Hill Roads.

The complex includes offices; dry, refrigerated and frozen warehouse space; and a truck yard and garage to service Dot’s fleet.

“A lot of work has been done to get us to this day,” said Dick Tracy, Dot Foods president, “And we are excited to move this project into the next phase. Dot Foods Delaware joins our other two East Coast locations, in Maryland and New York and will allow us to even better serve our customers in eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. We look forward to building relationships with many more people in the region as we become part of the Bear community.”

Dot Foods leadership were joined by state and county leaders to mark the occasion. Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long, U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, and Director Damian DeStefano of the Delaware Division of Small Business attended the groundbreaking ceremony, along with State Sen. Nicole Poore and New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer.

Dot will begin work on the Bear distribution center next month, with an estimated completion date of fall 2019.

Dot will hire up to 125 people in the first year, starting with truck drivers. The company has established a terminal location in nearby New Castle for its transportation operations at 194 S. DuPont Highway.

Dot Transportation offers career opportunities for both experienced and new drivers at the New Castle terminal.

Drivers’ salaries are guaranteed in writing; experienced drivers who handle freight are guaranteed to earn $75,000 their first year, and those who do not touch freight are guaranteed $71,800. Experienced drivers also receive an assigned tractor on day one, vacation time match and health insurance gap coverage.

Dot will also have career opportunities for warehouse and support staff. Hiring will get underway next spring. Dot plans to employ 200 people by 2022.

“The best part of moving into a new community and establishing a new distribution center is building our team,” Tracy explained. “We’re so happy to be at the point that we can start meeting with potential employees in New Castle County and the surrounding area. These are the people who are going to drive our success in Delaware. Today marks a big moment in our company’s history.”

Dot’s Class A Regional Driver positions are currently posted on DriveforDot.com. Dot will employ 50 drivers by the time the Bear distribution center opens in late 2019. As additional positions in the warehouse and office become available, they will be posted at DotFoods.com/careers. Dot Foods and Dot Transportation offer competitive wages and a benefit package worth $20,000 that includes health insurance, prescription drug insurance, dental, vision, life insurance, 401(k) with company match, profit sharing and college tuition reimbursement.

Dot Foods Delaware will be led by general manager Joe Little. Little will celebrate his 30thanniversary with the company in 2019. He began his career at Dot’s corporate headquarters in Mt. Sterling, Illinois. After spending 13 years there, he moved to Dot’s Maryland location, before transferring to Idaho to open that distribution center. For the last five years, Little has served as the general manager of Dot Foods New York in Liverpool. Little and his wife Janna are in the process of relocating to Delaware.

Dot Foods Inc. carries 127,000 products from 930 food industry manufacturers making it the largest food industry redistributor in North America. Redistribution involves breaking down truckloads of food products into smaller loads that are delivered to customers.

Through Dot Transportation Inc., an affiliate of Dot Foods, the family owned company distributes foodservice, convenience, retail and vending products to distributors in all 50 states and more than 35 countries.

Dot Foods operates 11 U. S. distribution centers in Modesto, CA; Vidalia, GA; Burley, ID; Mt. Sterling, IL ; Cambridge City, IND; Williamsport, MD; Liverpool, NY; Ardmore, OK; Dyersburg, TN; University Park, IL; and Bullhead City, AZ. Dot Foods’ Canadian operations are located in Toronto and Calgary. For information, visit dotfoods.com.

This article was originally posted on the Delaware Business Times at: https://delawarebusinessnow.com/2018/10/101651/

Kurt Foreman


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New Businesses, Expanding Arts: the Milton Renaissance

New businesses, expanding arts: the Milton renaissance

25 JULY, 2018

During the economic downturn of the late 2000s, Milton had fallen on hard times.

There were empty storefronts, and the mood surrounding the town was down, said Ted Kanakos, mayor of Milton since 2016 and a resident in Sussex County for the last 20 years.

But there has been an uptick in the town since then.

“Milton is definitely in a renaissance,” he said.

Artisanal businesses have emerged, food trucks are a regular sight downtown and town festivals are commonplace.

In town, 73 out of the 74 storefronts have businesses in them, Kanakos said, and the mood surrounding the town has greatly improved with subdivisions being built and people moving in.

“The interesting thing about the economics of a town, a few years ago when the downturn of 2007 was really bad, the economy was bad, we were building almost no houses in our town,” Kanakos said. “Today, each year we set a record for building more houses, and when you have roofs, you have businesses. You can’t have businesses without people living in town.”

When the economy started to improve after 2010, people were more willing to take a risk on a business venture.

During the recession, when a business failed, stores would sit vacant for up to a year, Kanakos said.

“Now, if they don’t make it, that store is re-rented immediately, so there are a lot of people that want to be in business in our town,” he said.

But before the uptick, organizations such as the Milton Community Foundation had to help support businesses and art in the town.

Milton Community Foundation was a large part of the Horseshoe Crab Festival when it first started 15 years ago, said Steve Crawford, president of the Milton Community Foundation.

“We helped generate interest in town businesses through promoting festivals like the Horseshoe Crab Festival,” he said.

When he first moved to Milton in 2012, it felt vacant, he said. But since then, that has changed.

“I think we are small still, and is difficult to say directly that we helped bring businesses in, but we supported the community during the downturn and helped them that way,” Crawford said.

One business that has had success in Milton since opening is Suburban Farmhouse, a coffee shop and bakery on Federal Street.

The store opened in 2017, and when she first talked about opening it, people gave co-owner Kristen Latham a weird look.

“It has been an amazing outpouring of support since then,” she said. “We love this business, we love this town, we love this town’s people. They have rallied together and made us into such a success in such a short amount of time. I wouldn’t want us to be anywhere else.”

The store may add a new location in the future or expand, but right now, Latham is satisfied with where they are.

Milton is home, she said.

“A Milton local will come and they will bring their friend from Long Neck and their friend from Georgetown and Rehoboth, and they are all here,” said Jodi Sickles, co-owner of the Suburban Farmhouse. “We know everybody’s name and what they drink and I know what they want to eat.”

Milton — and their store — has turned into a destination for many people, Latham said, because they want to experience small-town charm.

They were destined to be there, she added, and the entire experience has been “serendipitous.”

“Milton is the place to go,” Latham said. “Milton is the place to be, and I think we have been saying that for the last few years and now it’s happening.”

In recent years, Milton, much like the small town of Berlin, Maryland, has been awarded with many recognitions as community with charm.

One business that has been in Milton since 2002 and stuck with the town through the economic downturn is Dogfish Head.

The beer trailblazers have their main brewery and cannery in the town, but it is very important that they support not just the town of Milton but the entire coastal Delaware region, said Mark Carter, off-centered event planning and benevolencing director.

“We are growing, obviously Delaware is growing, the town of Milton is going, Sussex County beach life, the whole area, is growing, and we bring a lot of folks into the community, not just Milton but all the neighborhoods and towns we are connected to,” he said. “So we bring 100,000 visitors in a year, those visitors, hopefully, traffic, not just by vehicle but by foot as well, into Milton.”

Dogfish will encourage people to venture into Milton to experience the town and see the historical society and possibly catch a play at the Milton theater. (Milton Mayor Kanakos said they have over 300 productions per year there.)

Dogfish Head also sponsor nonprofits such as the Milton Theater or Milton Community Foundation to make the town in which they are located more beautiful and more attractive to visitors.

“One of the things, I think, from day one Dogfish Head has always been about not just ‘Hey, we’re Dogfish, and we make beer,’ ” Carter said. “It’s ‘Hey, we’re Dogfish, and we are proud to be in coastal Delaware.’ “

Having a strong town council and a strong town manager that are actively invested in the town has helped tremendously, Kanakos said.

The people on the town council are at the top of their professions, he added, ensuring only the best of the best will be there helping out Milton.

Kristy Rogers, who became the town manager in early 2017, has also been an excellent asset to the town, Kanakos said, because of her ability to negotiate contracts with other agencies that will benefit the town.

Their representatives in the Delaware General Assembly, Sen. Ernie Lopez and Rep. Steve Smyk, also help the town out, ensuring their needs are met by the General Assembly to ensure they are competitive with other towns, Kanakos said.

Above all, though, since taking over as mayor two years ago, Kanakos is just happy with the way his town has grown and the responses to it.

“This is the leading edge,” he said. “Just a little town like this.”

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Agribusiness from Europe Establishes U.S. Headquarters in Delaware

Agribusiness from Europe Establishes U.S. Headquarters in Delaware

16 JULY, 2018

When it came time for Belchim Crop Protection to decide on the home for its United States headquarters, the European company looked at the Research Triangle in North Carolina. It looked in Kansas City and it looked in Dallas.

So, naturally the agribusiness has set up HQ in a business park on Centerville Road where Prices Corner meets Greenville.

Now, the company with a growing portfolio of insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and other biological products is poised to take a larger market share in the U.S.

Last year, Belchim, which reported $600 million in sales in 2017, acquired Prescott, Arizona-based Engage Agro USA, laying the groundwork for major U.S. expansion.

The U.S. arm of Belchim plans $50 million in growth over the next three years. U.S. general manager Tom Wood said the growth will be aimed at expanding from niche fruit and vegetable crops into large row crops like corn.

Most of Belchim’s U.S. customers are on the west coast. The expansion into row crops will open up east coast markets like Delaware, where corn and soy crops are aplenty. Wood said Belchim is going to bring a unique herbicide to the U.S. market that is not there today.

Setting up in Delaware, of course, puts Belchim in the backyard of DuPont, which will live in on Delaware with its Corteva Acgriscience spinoff. Chemical giant FMC also makes Philadelphia its home. Belchim and FMC worked together in 2013, when Belchim granted FMC exclusive rights to develop, register, manufacture and sell Belchim’s proprietary fungicide valifenalate, in North America, Latin America and elsewhere.

Belchim later bought back FMC’s stake in the company after FMC acquired Cheminova.

“It’s a David and Goliath story,” Wood said. “We’re up against giants.

“Our strategy is not to go head-to-head with the basics like Corteva and not to go head-to-head in national distribution… Our strategy is to provide something for those types of companies from a life cycle management perspective. We fill the gaps particularly on weeds that escape their products.

“So it’s something they can add to their portfolio that is cost effective for them, for the grower and allows us to participate in market and take a market share without threatening the giants in any way.”

Belchim currently has just 12 employees in the U.S., up from seven at the beginning of the year. Some of those are out in the field working in regional sales positions across the country.

Four employees work full-time out of Delaware. Wood, a Chester native, said Belchim could have around a dozen or so employees in Delaware in two years.

“We will bring a unique herbicide to the U.S. market that is not there today,” he said. “So it will be a new innovation that the growers will appreciate. They’re already using it in mint crops as an emergency use approved by the EPA. It just gets the really tough weeds that no one else can get and it works well with every major herbicide out in the market.

“A lot of companies will enter the United States and come in with a, ‘Me, too.’ We will have something new that hasn’t been seen in the United States for years or they’ve never seen before.

“Once people start seeing our portfolio, they invite us back.”

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