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Orland seed firm to expand

$13 million upgrade to add 16 jobs

Lord’s Seed LLC, an agricultural production company, will invest $13 million to expand operations in Orland, creating up to 16 new jobs by 2016.

The company, headquartered in Howe, plans to construct and equip an 18,000-square-foot seed-drying facility on its 10-acre campus at 9900 W. Maple St. in Orland, according to a written statement Monday night from the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

The expansion will increase the company’s square footage in Orland to 45,000 square feet.

The new facility, expected to be operational by the end of the summer, will allow Lord’s Seed to complete the drying and packaging process on site.

“We decided to expand our manufacturing operations due to the high freight costs of moving our raw products to other dryer facilities,” Mark Larimer, vice president of Lord’s Seed, said in a statement. “Indiana is a clear choice due to the location of our production and quick access to the marketplace.”

Lord’s Seed, a family-owned company, has been operating in northeast Indiana since 1975. It produces crops ranging from seed corn, seed soybeans, hay and waxy corn for food consumption.

The company, which has six Indiana facilities, produced 10,400 acres of seed corn last year for regional and multinational companies.

Lord’s Seed, which currently has 25 full-time employees in Indiana, has already begun hiring additional management and production workers.

Company officials could not be reached for comment Monday night. The state’s news release did not provide a pay range for the new positions.

Eric Doden, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corp., said in a statement that Indiana has more than 15 million acres of farmland and the agriculture industry is “a vital component of our state’s economy.”

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Lord’s Seed LLC up to $100,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $50,000 in training grants, based on the company’s job creation plans.

The tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives.

The town of Orland approved an additional tax abatement at the request of the Steuben County Economic Development Corp.

Kevin Kellett, president of the Orland Town Council, called the expansion project “very promising” for the company’s future growth in Steuben County.