Biofertilizer firm building $10 million plant in Bluffton

September 27th, 2018

By Lisa Green | The Journal Gazette

A Philadelphia-based liquid biofertilizer company is investing more than $10 million to add a plant in Bluffton, state officials announced Wednesday.

EnviroKure plans to be fully operational at the new Wells County site in late 2019, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. said.

“We are pleased to be building our flagship facility in Bluffton,” Mark Lupke, president and CEO of EnviroKure, said in a news release.

The 80,000-square-foot Bluffton manufacturing plant will house state-of the-art equipment to extract soil-building microbes from chicken manure and cultivate field-proven biofertilizers and biostimulants.

The plant will use a process developed and patented by EnviroKure, according to the release. The company's technology is commercialized for conventional, organic and hydroponic use with sales in 42 U.S. states.

Construction planning to renovate an existing building is underway. A spokeswoman for the state's economic development agency said EnviroKure indicated Wednesday that negotiations on a location were ongoing.

The announcement was made in conjunction with the inaugural Forbes AgTech Indianapolis Summit. The summit was designed to bring together global agriculture leaders and business owners to tackle challenges and address solutions that growers and processors can use in their fields and plants, along with showcasing innovations for farmers, investors and stakeholders in the agbiosciences.

EnviroKure plans to add up to 17 “well-paying” jobs by 2020. It will begin hiring the on-site management team in early summer and filling manufacturing positions in the fall of 2019. New positions are expected to offer competitive salaries, benefits and incentive stock options, the release said.

Company spokeswoman Sonia Nofziger Dasgupta declined to disclose specific pay ranges but said EnviroKure will base them on a salary survey the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership oversees.

Mark Lupke is a Fort Wayne native and his brother, David, is president of Lupke Rice Insurance in Fort Wayne, along with serving on EnviroKure's board of directors.

“We're excited about the Indiana expansion,” said Dasgupta, who grew up in Goshen. “It's kind of a homecoming for us.”

Beth Bechdol, president and CEO of AgriNovus Indiana, said in preparation for EnviroKure building in Bluffton, officials have already “supported their team in developing meaningful relationships in northeastern Indiana and across the state with key business partners and industry leaders.”

The state's economic development agency offered EnviroKure up to $165,000 in conditional incentives based on the company's job creation and investment plans. The incentives are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. The city of Bluffton has offered additional incentives.

Gov. Eric Holcomb said EnviroKure has “already been a great partner to Indiana and the industry.” The company joined an agbiosciences delegation on an economic development trip to Israel earlier this year.