"Double-digit growth" over the past five years prompted Calcium Products Incorporated to expand its Fort Dodge plant.
The company, which produces pelletized lime and gypsum for growers in agriculture and horticulture, broke ground in April 2012 on a new 58,900-square-foot building due north of the company's existing plant.
The $7 million expansion will allow Calcium Products to increase its production of SuperCal SO4, which is described as "a naturally-mined sulfur fertilizer and superior quality gypsum product," is used by growers throughout North America.
-Messenger photo by Jesse Helling
Craig Dick, vice president of sales and marketing for Calcium Products Inc., looks over the digital scales at the company’s new, 58,900-square-foot facility currently under construction in Fort Dodge. The $7 million expansion to the site will allow CPI to increase its production of mineral-based soil additives.
The project will create 10 new jobs.
The expanded facility is set to begin full production later this spring, said Craig Dick, CPI vice president of sales and marketing.
"Our equipment is still being shipped to us," said Dick.
However, barring any weather-related delays, the operation remains on track, he said.
Dick said the expansion would "effectively double" the company's production capacity and help to meet the increasing demand for SuperCal SO4.
According to CPI's website, the company's products are sold by dealers in 14 states and four Canadian provinces.
"SuperCal SO4, one of several soil amendment products we manufacture, has led industry sales as farmers and growers better understand the importance calcium and sulfur has on plant health, vitality and crop production," said Dick.
SuperCal SO4 provides 17 percent sulfur in the sulfate from, as well as calcium, which improves soil structure, aeration and drainage. That results in increased water infiltration while reducing soil surface crusting and improving seedling emergence. SO4 also helps break up compacted soil, increasing rooting depth, helps stabilize organic matter and decreases nitrogen loss to the atmosphere.
The overall goal of improving soil quality is boosting crop yields.
During the groundbreaking ceremony, CPI President Larry E. Moore spoke about the growth of the company into a profitable enterprise.
"What we make are soil amendments," he said. "In '96, when we started down here, people didn't understand processed products. They didn't understand pounds instead of tons per acre. They thought I was some kind of snake oil salesman."
Moore said that CPI products play an important role in agriculture, particularly as Canada expands its efforts across millions of acres.
"There's a lot of room for our products to play a role in that expansion," he said. "That's what we want our products to do."
According to Dick, the Fort Dodge project is largest on-site expansion in the history of the Gilmore City-based company, which was established in 1987.
CPI's expansion has absorbed land purchased from Western Express, a Nashville, Tenn-based freight hauling company, acquired the property following a merger with Smithway Motor Xpress in 2007. The remainder of the Western Express site was sold to Iowa Central Community College in July 2012.
Since its announcement last year, local leaders have lauded CPI's commitment to the city.
"They will be adding some jobs and adding to our tax base," said Dennis Plautz, chief executive officer of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. "More importantly, they will be becoming a more viable and larger company within Webster County. It adds value to the natural resources, but also adds value to the companies which they get their resources from. There's great synergy between Calcium Products and the other companies they buy their raw material from in order to add value to it."
In May 2012, members of the Fort Dodge City Council unanimously approved a development agreement with CPI that will give the company up to $360,000 over four years in the form of incremental property tax rebates.