on September 1, 2007 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Recalls expanding LaBudde operations

AKRON–A local company is cashing in on foreign pet food quality concerns.

The LaBudde Group is cashing in on those concerns by expanding operations to meet those demands by purchasing the former Weber Lumber Company building on M-46.

Deaths and the illness of some pets have been traced back to feed that came out of China.

“Because of that, the demand for our by-products for pet food has grown,” said Joe Pomeroy, who manages LaBudde processing operations at 3880 Rayl St., Akron. “Recalls are feeding the demand for local products that meet U. S. (quality) standards.”

The former lumber company facility with its 5.8 acres will be a storage site for tomato and vegetable pumice.

“We needed another site that has access to a railroad because the plan is to bring in cotton seed from Georgia, and that site does,” said Pomeroy. “The demand for tomato pumice has really increased.”

Pomeroy explained LaBudde’s tomato pumice is in demand because the company controls every aspect of its drying and production process.

The other company that processes tomato pumice would put it out on an old airport runway to dry, which allowed contaminates in it, he explained.

“Our method of (quality) controlling the tomato pumice process is what’s attractive to customers,” noted Pomeroy.

“Customers are now more concerned about quality rather than cost after all of the recalls.”

LaBudde’s Akron site will remain the center for production operations.

“There is more than enough room to build in Akron, but time is the biggest issue for purchasing the Weber building. If we put up a building in Akron, it wouldn’t be finished until January or after; and with the demand the way it is, we needed storage now,” said Pomeroy.

“That site will be used just for storage and bulk trucking. There could possibility be some processing done there down the road, but there are no plans for that at this point.”

The company had done a $1,435,000 expansion last year to be able to process 10 tons of sugar beet pulp which is used in high-quality horse feed.

The LaBudde Group, Inc. buys and sells by-products from a variety of manufacturers of food products, and they, in turn, process those by-products into other products such as animal feed.

Demand for LaBudde’s products continues to increase.

“When I started with the company three years ago it had four guys working,” said Pomeroy. “Now, there are 20 employees and three shifts are operating.”

The Richville site is expected to create three additional jobs.

Pomeroy noted the company has a long history of recycling food by-products into other useful projects.

“It is celebrating its 100th anniversary of making by-products this year,” said Pomeroy.

LaBudde’s main office is located in Grafton, WI, and has facilities which are in Jackson, WI, Crookston, MN, Akron and soon Richville.

Mary Drier is a staff writer for the Tuscola County Advertiser. She can be reached at drier@tcadvertiser.com.