Noneducational sales and use tax abatement clears way for $25 million feed mill

Published 12:58 am Saturday, November 19, 2016

By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

In a busy first meeting following the administration of the oath of office to incumbent Lowndes County Commissioners Carnell McAlpine and Dickson Farrior and new Commissioner Joshua “Mole” Simmons on Wednesday, Nov. 16, the Lowndes County Commission cleared the way for a new $25 million feed mill in the county.

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The commission unanimously approved a noneducational sales and use tax abatement for Koch Foods of Alabama LLC to build a new $25 million feed mill for the construction period, according to documents, to replace its current 40 year-old mill located off Tyson Road in the Hope Hull area.

The abatement began on Nov. 16, 2016 with a construction completion date of Feb. 28, 2018.

Rod Thomas, complex manager for Koch Foods who previously appeared before the commission for a similar noneducational sales and use tax abatement in connection with a successfully completed multi-million rail project at the same location, addressed the abatement request for the new feed mill.

He said with regard to the recently completed rail project, the company recently unloaded its first two unit trains with 83 cars within 15 hours as required.

He told the commission that the current feed mill is 40 years old and has suffered deterioration. He said the new mill would “completely replace the old mill,” which he said would be taken down.

He said the new mill will be constructed next to two 140-foot silos which will allow the company to increase its feed storage to produce two different types of feed for a small bird program and a big bird program.

Thomas said the new mill will alleviate dust and sanitation concerns with a design that puts human safety to the forefront with technological advantages.
He said he was asking for the sales and use tax abatement on building the mill which would be north of a $20 million investment in the community.
Thomas said the new mill would hopefully be in operation about February of 2018.

While the commission approved the abatement pending a determination by County Attorney Hank Sanders that everything is in order, Sanders said on Nov. 16 that he reviewed the abatement request and that is in legal order.

David Hutchison of the Lowndes County Economic Development Commission told the County Commission that with the abatements granted, the county schools will benefit to the tune of $212,000 while the company will save a little more than $765,000 in sales and use taxes. However, he stressed, that in about a 24 month period, Koch Foods “will have invested or will invest in excess of $41 million in Lowndes County.”

He said, “I think it shows a significant amount of confidence in Lowndes County and we are proud that they have chosen to expand here… We’re glad that they chose their existing facility here in Lowndes County.”