Perdue coming to Seaford Agribusiness arm may locate in Downtown area

By Lynn R. Parks

The agribusiness arm of Perdue Incorporated is moving its headquarters, currently in Salisbury, to Seaford. The move will mean about 120 executive and support jobs for the area.

Perdue AgriBusiness intends to make an $8 million capital investment in its new Seaford office building. The site for the office has not been selected. But Seaford Mayor Ed Butler said that Perdue is especially interested in being in downtown. Perdue hopes to occupy the new building in 2012.

Announcement of Perdue's plans came Tuesday morning, at a press conference at Seaford City Hall. Gov. Jack Markell called the move "a huge deal."

"This is a great city in a great county and to see them combine with a great company is terrific," he said. "Seaford was hit hard with the loss of DuPont and downsizing at the nylon plant. We want to do everything we can do to rejuvenate Seaford's economy." "This is very exciting," added Butler. "Think about what 120 good-paying jobs will mean to Seaford and our community."

The Delaware Economic Development Office is recommending that Perdue AgriBusiness be given a $1.74 million grant to help with capital construction and moving costs. It is also recommending approval of a $375,000 grant to help with creation of new jobs. The money would come from the Delaware Strategic Fund and requires approval from the Council on Development Finance.

Alan Levin, Delaware Economic Development Office director, said at the press conference that getting Perdue AgriBusiness to move to Seaford was a collaborative effort among representatives of the state, city and county.

Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee added that that "reflects the Delaware way,

with different organizations working together to get the job done."

Two weeks ago, Mountaire Farms announced a $34.5 million expansion at its processing plant near Millsboro to construct a rendering a resource-recovery facility.

That and the Perdue AgriBusiness move demonstrate the state's commitment to agriculture and the food processing industry, Kee said. "Efforts like these create momentum, help to keep our farms profitable and mean more jobs," he added. "And that means good news for the environment as we can keep open space, which is so important."

Perdue Agribusiness corporate headquarters are currently located on Zion Church Road in Salisbury. The office building is 40 years old and is too small to accommodate the growing business, president Dick Willey said. Other operations at the site, including a grain and soybean mill, will remain there.

Perdue Incorporated's corporate headquarters will also remain where they are in Salisbury. The office building there is undergoing a $12 million makeover.

Perdue AgriBusiness is a leading merchandiser, processor and exporter of agriculture products. It has more than 60 grain elevators with a capacity of more than 60 million bushels of storage as well as three protein blending mills, three soybean crushing operations, an edible oil refinery and two rendering facilities.

Of the six branches that Perdue AgriBusiness operates, three have facilities in Delaware. Perdue Grain and Oilseed and Venture Milling have operations in Seaford and Perdue-AgriRecycle is just south of Blades.

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