Beck’s Hybrids planning to expand headquarters operation

Beck’s Hybrids is planning to expand its Hamilton County headquarters operation to keep up with its booming seed business.

Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann will join executives for an “economic development announcement” Wednesday at the sprawling facility in Atlanta—usually an indication that state incentives are on the table—and the Hamilton County Council has three Beck’s-related items on its agenda this week, suggesting local aid for the project.

Council President Rick McKinney declined to discuss any specifics before the Wednesday morning news conference, but last month the elected panel authorized him to sign a letter to the state supporting a tax-abatement request from Beck's.

President Sonny Beck told the council then that the growing company was weighing options for expanding its processing and research-and-development operations, now based in Atlanta.

“As we look to the future … we’re looking at whether to continue to build a mega center here ” or expand other locations,” he said then.

The Atlanta operation already includes almost 1 million square feet under roof, Beck said, and the company is looking to add multiple buildings—possibly including greenhouses.

At last month’s meeting, council member Brad Beaver said the county’s redevelopment commission had discussed creating a tax-increment-financing district to help fund improvements near the Beck's headquarters. The council’s Wednesday agenda includes the possible designation of an economic redevelopment area there, the first step in the process.

“We’ve really been pleased with … you folks and how you work with us,” Beck said at the March council meeting. “We love being here.”

Company officials also declined to comment ahead of the official announcement.

Most of the firm's corn, soybeans and wheat is processed and bagged in Hamilton County, then shipped to distribution centers. Billed as the nation’s largest family-owned seed company, Beck’s does business in eight states.

Beck’s has more than 400 employees companywide, most in Indiana. It added 74 workers in 2012 and 85 last year, Sonny Beck told the council.

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.

Beck told the council the company’s market share increased steadily from 2006 to 2012, outpacing both of its main competitors: corporate giants Pioneer and DeKalb.


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