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Grain company expanding in Pa.

June 10, 1999|By DON AINES

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania firm broke ground this week for a $9 million feed processing mill that will create 25 or more jobs over the next two years.

The Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Agency this week approved a bond issue to help Wenger's Feed Mill Inc., of Rheems, Pa., finance the plant on 16 acres at the intersection of Mount Rock and Possum Hollow roads in Southampton Township, according to the office of State Sen. Terry Punt, D-Waynesboro.

James L. Adams, director of operations and technical services for the company, said the 28,000-square-foot concrete building will produce 6,000 tons of poultry and swine feed a week when it begins operations. He said it will take 18 months to two years to complete the plant.

The bond issue will cover land acquisition, construction, equipment purchases and related costs, according to Punt's office.

Adams said the company needs to expand to meet customer demand. About two-thirds of the plant's capacity will be devoted to existing business. Wenger's Feed Mill now operates three other plants in Pennsylvania and another on Maryland's Eastern Shore, he said.

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The company has about 270 employees and gross annual sales of $200 million. He said starting salary at the plant will be about $8.50 to $10 an hour, depending on the position and the employee's experience.

According to Alan Welder, an assistant to Punt, the company will repay the tax-exempt bond issue at below-market interest rates. The exact rates have not been determined because the bonds have not yet been sold, but Welder said they are typically two points below market standard.

Welder said the Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Agency issues bonds for "small-issue projects" of $10 million or less.

Punt is a board member of the agency and chairman of the Senate Community and Economic Development Committee.

Adams said the family-owned Wenger's Feed Mill was founded in 1944. The company builds plants in agricultural areas to support both grain and livestock farmers, he said.

"It's our philosophy to construct mills in areas where there is existing animal production because transportation costs are so much," he said.

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