CLARION - Hagie Manufacturing Co., a three-generation, family owned manufacturer of innovative crop protection and application solutions announced on April 29 its plans to invest $22 million to expand and upgrade its plant in Clarion.
It will be the sixth expansion of the plant since it opened in 1954 and, according to Amber Kohlhaas, the company's brand manager, it will be a three-year process.
The Iowa Economic Development Authority Board agreed on April 23 to provide Hagie with $850,000 in direct financial assistance and $1.2 million in tax credits to expand its production capability by adding new manufacturing methods, upgrading current production equipment and expanding meeting and training facilities.
Hagie's new parts warehouse, in the new West Campus building, brings the service inventory from five locations into one. This will improve worker efficiency and service customers better, said Amber Kohlhaas, brand manager for Hagie.
Hagie is also escalating its current research and development department, both in space and work force. The project is expected to create 150 new jobs.
"We are excited to get the state involved in our growth. All of us at Hagie want to be a part of something great and see rural Iowa prosper," said Alan Hagie, president and chief executive officer of Hagie.
Also enthused over the announcement is Kim Heller, executive director of Clarion Chamber and Development.
Working on growing pains MIGP at work to meet the needs
By LARRY KERSHNER, firstname.lastname@example.org
CLARION - Brad Hicks, director of Wright County Economic Development, said Hagie Manufacturing Co.'s three-year, $22 million expansion will bring the community some growing pains, but efforts have already started to address them.
Owner-occupied and rental housing must be created, he said, "which is a regional matter, not just in Wright County."
Attracting a work force that will be a good fit for the company is also a challenge.
The Mid Iowa Growth Partnership has already formed a housing committee and a workforce committee to review these issues across its nine-county service area, which includes Calhoun, Hardin, Hamilton, Humboldt, Kossuth, Palo Alto, Pocahontas, Webster and Wright counties.
Hicks said efforts to create an effective workforce is in the works with Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge.
"We want people who grew up here," Hicks said, "to see the opportunities that are here.
"I'm very optimistic of Wright County's future. There are many jobs available here for people with some level of training, whether in health care, manufacturing, or even to start a business."
The impacts of expansions like Hagie's will reverberate throughout the county.
"We want more people to move here and make a good living," Hicks said. "It will (positively) impact other people."
"Hagie Manufacturing continues to grow, " Heller said, "and impact our economy."
Such impacts include more housing units in and around Clarion for the additional workers, which will expand the local tax base, plus more people to patronize local businesses.
"Hagie sponsors many local programs like at the schools and hospital," Heller said. "They know these improvements enhance the quality of life for local residents."
The expansion is occurring, Kohlhaas said, after the purchase of a nearby 210,000-square-foot building the company will call Hagie West Campus. The acquisition expands Hagie's footprint in Clarion to 385,000 square feet.
According to Melissa Hackley, Hagie financial controller, the new West Campus and new machinery and equipment facilities will be developed over the three-year period. A new paint line for the company will be created in 2014 and the final building phase will be a new front office facility completed in 2015.
Hagie is also expecting to hire 58 new workers this year, another 51 in 2014 and 41 in 2014. Hackley said those new hires will be in manufacturing, administration, engineering and sales and service.
Hagie's 2013 work force tallies more than 450 employees, Kohlhaas said, which is up from 150 in 2008.
The expansion allows the parts and service team to bring its entire inventory under one roof, improving customer service, where before parts were scattered through five buildings Kohlhaas said.
To get the $850,000 state financial assistant, the company needed to secure a 20 percent match from local government
Stan Watne, chairman of the Wright County Board of Supervisors, said the county kicked in $100,000 from its revolving loan fund and thinks the money is well spent.
"Hagie is an outstanding business in Wright County, "Watne said. "They are a good presence and a manufacturing anchor for Clarion and Wright County.
"We're strong in agriculture and Hagie is a good fit here."
He said the expansion will offer manufacturing stability to all of Wright County.
Rochelle Pohlman, Clarion city administrator, said that city's proposed committment is $250,000, which includes writing a RISE grant for $32,000 for the local match.
The rest of the city's committment will be from its tax increment financing funds, Pohlman said.
Tall Corn Package
In September 2012, Hagie introduced its new Tall Corn Package at the Farm progress Show in Boone. The TCP is a new injection system on a heavy-duty, 60-foot nitrogen tool bar for its STS line of sprayers.
Newt Lingenfelter, Hagie sales product manager, told Farm News at the FPS the Tall Corn Package is available for the STS 10, 12, 14 and 16 models of sprayers and can be retrofitted onto existing units.
The Tall Corn Package will have a limited availability in 2013 with full production planned for 2014.
Lingenfelter said the injection system allows operators to have three products at 240-gallons total on board.
"It will give customers the availability to choose a different product to spray throughout the field and also adjust the rate mid-load," he said.
Being 20-feet wider than its former toolbar designs, Hagie's 60-footer will also be in limited availability in 2013 and in full production in 2014.
"This is a very flexible bar that goes over rough terrain very well," said Lingenfelter. "It is a rigid, heavy duty bar."
Lingenfelter said the 60-foot toolbar will mainly be used in commercial application purposes or for the large-acre farmer. It can side-dress nitrogen at 12 miles per hour and features a 72-inch clearance under the frame so nitrogen can be applied up to the plant's tassel stage.
The new toolbar, he said, will be available for the company's STS 12, 14 and 16 models of sprayers.
After introducing the world's first self-propelled sprayer in 1947, Hagie continues to be a pioneer in the industry with innovations such as front-mounted booms, hydrostatic drives and hydraulically adjustable booms.
Hagie said it is committed to providing state-of-the-art crop protection solutions, while delivering superior customer experience, while continuing to build on family owned traditions and values.
Top workplace in Iowa
In 2011, Hagie was ranked 19th among Iowa's Top Workplaces.
In 2012, the company moved to 11th on that list.
This success doesn't just happen, said Alan Hagie. It takes a lot of work and dedication among the company's leadership and its workforce. Hagie held an open house in October 2012 to celebrate its elevated status as a top Iowa workplace.
The name Hagie Manufacturing is associated with agricultural sprayers, but the company did not start out that way.
When Ray Hagie graduated from Iowa State University in 1933, he returned to his family's farm near Clarion with an interest in the new idea of the day - hybrid seed corn. Hagie's Hybrids was founded in 1934, and a drought in 1936 showed how his hybrid seed corn could perform in adverse growing conditions.
The seed business quickly grew.
Recognizing the need for a better way to detassel seed corn, Ray Hagie built a three-wheeled, self-propelled machine the workers rode with one person steering while several, in a raised position, were able to pull more tassels with less effort. Hagie's personnel carrier for detasseling was a success and used throughout the seed industry.
The first herbicides had been introduced in the mid-1940s, and Hagie created a sprayer system on his personnel carrier chassis and the company's first high-clearance sprayer was introduced.
In 1954, Hagie Manufacturing moved into a new building in Clarion, next to the Hagie's Hybrids. In 1957, the company doubled the plant's size.
A sprayer model with four wheels and a front-mounted boom was introduced in 1960. Hagie Manufacturing continued to grow, selling directly to its customers, rather than using a network of dealers.
Another expansion of the building was completed in 1967 adding 20,000 square feet of capacity.
Hagie's Hybrids was sold to Asgrow Seed Co. in 1968 and Hagie invested further in the spraying and nitrogen application equipment.
More plant expansions were completed in 1972, 1997 and 2011.
Hagie employs 350 people at its Clarion plant and continues with its innovations to its sprayers and nitrogen application equipment, selling directly to its customers.