Gov. Paterson

FLORIDA, NY-Officials with Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp. joined state and local officials in revealing that the firm is breaking ground on a new 635,000-sf facility in Montgomery County that will house its infant-food production operations as well as serve as its corporate headquarters. Plans for the $125-million project were originally revealed last year and included shifting the company’s corporate headquarters to the site.

Beech-Nut Nutrition currently is housing its headquarters staff in temporary space at 13 British American Blvd. in Latham, NY. The new plant will eventually replace the company’s existing manufacturing plants in Canajoharie and Fort Plain. The 100-plus year old facility in Canajoharie suffered extensive damage during the Mohawk River flooding in June 2006, which scrapped prior plans to undertake a more modest equipment upgrade of the facility, state officials note. The company will employ 356 people, which will include 135 news jobs, at the new facility once it is completed sometime in 2010. New York State is expected to be offering the company, which began operations in Canajoharie in 1891 as a meat production concern, significant incentives in connection with the project. The baby-food company is now a subsidiary of the Hero Group of Lenzburg, Switzerland.

“With this milestone today, Beech-Nut is beginning a new era in its storied history in Upstate New York, and we are delivering on the promises that were made last year,” says Gov. David Paterson. “This new plant represents the kind of cooperative efforts we need to strive for in New York State. In this case, we keep a business that is already here, attract new jobs and encourage the use of home-grown foods from our New York farmers. Not only is the company making a commitment to Upstate New York, but also to modern, ‘green’ technologies that will serve well into the future.”

Plans are for the facility to be LEED certified and the company will also set aside nearly 50 acres for wetlands and habitat mitigation. Beech-Nut will use modern technology to reduce water consumption by 40% and will tap into the City of Amsterdam’s water system to make sure waste-water is treated properly, New York State officials say. Air quality is also expected to be improved since emissions from the new facility will be less than the two plants that are being replaced.