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Governor Laura Kelly Announces 80 New Jobs in Tonganoxie

Jun 22, 2021

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TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today applauded Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s plan to build a new pet food manufacturing plant in Tonganoxie.

Hill’s will invest more than $250 million to construct a new 300,000-square-foot facility, bringing at least 80 new jobs to the community by 2025.

“Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s decision to invest $250 million in Kansas and bring 80 new jobs to Tonganoxie is further proof that Kansas’ Animal Health Corridor can out-compete any region in the world for these industry investments and jobs,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “With our central location, talented workforce and reputation as a global leader in animal health and science, our partnership with Hill’s is a no-brainer.”

According to Hill’s, Tonganoxie was selected for this investment based on the location’s industrial park, strong community partnerships, workforce strengths and proximity to distribution requirements for the facility. Hill’s also cited the major advantage of doing business in Kansas as part of the KC Animal Health Corridor, home to more than 300 animal health companies, representing the largest such concentration in the world. The KC Animal Health Corridor now accounts for 56 percent of total worldwide animal health, diagnostics and pet food sales.

“Hill’s Pet Nutrition is excited to be growing our roots in Kansas. We’ve been part of the community for almost 80 years and this new facility will help us to meet our mission of enriching and lengthening the special relationships between people and their pets by providing our high quality nutrition,” Jesper Nordengaard, president of Hill’s Pet Nutrition, said. 

“Kansas’ expertise and prime location for animal health leaders is undeniable, and this planned investment from Hill’s is proof,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “Thank you to Hill’s for continuing to set the standard for Kansas animal health and pet food manufacturing. Our partnership with Hill’s is a source of pride for our state, and I’m so proud to see that partnership continue to grow even stronger.”

“We are thrilled to welcome a quality company like Hill’s Pet Nutrition to Tonganoxie,” Steve Jack, Executive Director of the Leavenworth County Development Corporation, said. “This project will represent the largest capital investment ever made by a manufacturer in Leavenworth County. We’d like to recognize the vision and investment the city and county made in building the business park to allow us to take advantage of such a great opportunity.”

“This looks like a fantastic smart-growth project for our community,” Tonganoxie Mayor David Frese said. “It checks a bunch of the right boxes. A Kansas company; an environmentally up-to-date facility; a manageable influx of new neighbors; great jobs that pay well; high-tech opportunities for our young people; the possibility of attracting more business to Tonganoxie; and a boon to the city’s economy.”

Plans for the new wet pet food processing plant call for a state-of-the-art version of Hill’s Topeka plant, the only other Hill’s plant in the world producing canned pet food. No slaughtering or rendering of meat would take place at the new plant, with meat arriving to the facility frozen and leaving canned.

Hill’s Pet Nutrition is committed to environmentally friendly initiatives, with three facilities having achieved “Zero Waste to Landfill” status. The company announced in 2019 that it hopes to make all product packaging 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025, and to use at least 25% recycled content in the production of its pet food packaging.

The company still needs to go through city planning and zoning procedures and public hearings to consider the proposed tax abatement. Upon completion, construction is slated to begin this year and be completed in 2023.