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Summit Seed Coatings Indiana LLC, a custom traditional and organic seed coating company has started production in a former Childcraft warehouse, making it the first Midwest seed coating facility of its king.

The Caldwell, Idaho-based company has invested $2.39 million to lease, renovate and equip a 60,000 square-foot facility at 401 South High St. in Salem.

“Most of the seed that’s seeded in the US is grown out west,” said Stuart Barclay, Summit Seed Manager. “If a company wants to coat a load of seed — and we double the weight of the seed by coating it — it has to be trucked all the way from the west to the east coast to be shipped.”

The company’s coatings convert more seeds to plants and produce more vigorous seedlings than uncoated seeds. Summit Seed Coatings currently coats small seeded legumes, alfalfa, clover, cover crops, radishes, forage grasses and retail grasses for homeowners.

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The City of Salem held a ribbon cutting Tuesday morning and Barclay gave a tour of the plant to Washington County Chamber of Commerce members and local officials.

Barclay said if a manufacturer sends him a load of seed in Salem, it can be coated and distributed without the additional freight charges. “We’re the only seed coating plant east of Idaho. It’s very attractive.”

Barclay said they receive the seed, coat it in a hopper-style machine and then the seeds are fed into several drying units. Then the seed is weighed out into bags, put on pallets, shrink wrapped and shipped. He said he would soon be adding additional equipment for a distributor who intends to compete with big box home improvement stores.  IMAG1841 IMAG1847 IMAG1849

There is also a high-tech “vacuum” system that removes dust from the process and dumps it into “trash bags” that keep any dust or debris from leaving the plant and entering the air around Salem.

The facility will aid in distribution to the company’s Midwest customers, as well as help meet the company’s strong demand, which has increased by 30 percent annually over the past four years.

Barclay said he was looking at three locations but chose Salem because it was similar to the culture in Caldwell, Idaho.

“Moreover, with the help and encouragement of the State of Indiana,  the City of Salem and the people we met was a big influence  in our selection,” said Barclay.

“The seeds we have planted for a strong business climate are blossoming in Indiana,” said Eric Doden, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. “Companies around the nation like Summit Seed Coatings are selecting the Hoosier State for their agricultural business. In Indiana, they find the right conditions for growth, including a low-cost environment and convenient location close to their customers.”.

Founded in 2002, Summit Seed Coatings produces seed coatings for major seed distributors, which sell their seeds to agriculture dealers and government dealers, as well as at Lowe’s, The Home Depot, Walmart and other garden store chains.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Summit Seed Coatings Indiana LLC up to $100,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $17,500 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Indiana residents are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. The city of Salem will consider additional incentives.

“We recognize Summit Seed Coatings as a growing, value-added agribusiness that will fit very well into our area,” said Salem Mayor David Bower. “It provides evidence that the cooperative efforts of the IEDC with Salem provides benefits to all and has a positive impact.”

“We are very pleased that after a very competitive  multi-state  search Summit Seed Coatings picked  Salem as the best location,” said Bower. “Their decision  reinforces our belief that with a coordinated  team effort Salem can be very competitive  in attracting  new companies  and investment.  After just 2 years of local effort Summit  is the latest success story that now totals over $45 million  in new investment  completed  or underway  in Salem.

“We expect even more in the near future. It has been the result of strong efforts on the part of many individuals. On this project we want to recognize the efforts of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Plan Commission Chairman Terry McNeely, Community Development Director Greg Fitzloff as well as the Salem City Council.”

Indiana ranks among the top 10 states in the nation for agricultural sales. Companies like Summit Seed Coatings contribute to the state’s $16 billion food and agricultural sector and help support 245,000 Hoosier jobs across the state.