April 5, 2014 News

From the Indiana Business Journal:

Beck’s Hybrids plans to spend $60 million to renovate and expand its headquarters north of Indianapolis, adding as many as 100 jobs by 2017, the company announced Wednesday morning.  IBJ reported Tuesday that Beck’s was planning a major expansion, but Wednesday’s official announcement provided details.
Atlanta-based Beck’s, the country’s largest family-owned seed company, said the expansion will include research labs, greenhouses, office space, and seed-processing facilities and equipment.  Construction will occur in phases over about four years, company President Sonny Beck said. He expects hiring to occur more quickly.

The existing operation already includes almost 1 million square feet of facilities. This year’s plan includes construction of two 4,000-square-foot greenhouses and four machinery storage buildings, and expansion of the biotechnology building.  The Indiana Economic Development Corp. said it will give Beck’s up to $825,000 in tax credits if it meets job-creation commitments. It will also provide up to $75,000 in training grants.

Becks-Hybrids-Atlanta-IN-June-2012Hamilton County Council is expected to vote Wednesday night on a property-tax abatement that would save the company about $2 million over 10 years, council President Rick McKinney said.  The county still will collect $2.3 million in additional taxes during that period as a result of the expansion, Beck said, and $5.6 million in the decade after the abatement expires.  County officials also are planning about $6 million in upgrades to 276th Street—which runs through the middle of the Beck’s campus—from Gwinn Road east to U.S. 31. A federal grant is expected to cover $3.5 million of the expense.  McKinney said officials are considering utilizing tax-increment financing to pay for some road improvements.

Beck’s has more than 400 employees companywide, including about 290 in Indiana. It added 74 workers in 2012 and 85 last year, President Sonny Beck said.  He declined to share specific sales figures, but said Beck’s has posted 20-percent annual growth for the last 40 years.  It is the sixth-largest seed company in the country despite selling its products in only eight states.  Beck’s operates additional Indiana facilities in Sharpsville, West Lafayette and Noblesville. It also has operations in Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio and Iowa.  Beck said the 77-year-old company considered adding processing and research capabilities to its distribution operations in Illinois or Ohio, but ultimately decided to grow here.  “It just made sense to us,” he told IBJ, saying the company appreciates the business environment in Indiana—and Hamilton County in particular.  Although Beck’s will bear some additional costs shipping products to Indiana for processing, he said the state and local incentives “help make up for that.”

Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, who joined Beck and McKinney in announcing the expansion, praised the company’s efforts.  “Having such a successful company here and to see it continue to invest in its hometown really helps promote locally grown economic development,” she said.

The company announced a $24.5 million expansion in 2010, promising to create 72 jobs within five years. Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered up to $650,000 in performance-based tax credits for that growth spurt, and the county provided a tax abatement.