German company finds home in Ossian

October 28th, 2016

By Lucretia Cardenas | Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly

A shovel-ready site in Ossian was not where a German field research manufacturer expected to find a prime opportunity to grow its international business.

Haldrup made known its intention to expand its agricultural business into the United States a couple years ago, and began looking at real estate in Iowa and Kansas – the heart of America’s agriculture industry.

But then a Hoosier customer – Tech Services Inc., a national contract agriculture testing company based in Poneto – encouraged Haldrup to take a look at northeast Indiana.

“In visiting with one of the owners of Haldrup at the seed trade show in Chicago, it was discussed they were looking to establish the brand here in the U.S.,” Mike Mossburg, president of Tech Services, said in an email. “For TSI this seemed to be a good fit, as we were looking to change the equipment we were using our the business.”

Tech Services has been located in Wells County for 20 years. So, bringing Haldrup to the county would not only be helpful to that company but would have the potential to significantly boost local manufacturing as Haldrup grew to service South America and Canada, Mossburg said.

The favorable business climate, tax policy and infrastructure in Wells is key to Tech Services business and Mossburg shared that information with Haldrup.

“They (Haldrup) reviewed the region and the IEDC (Indiana Economic Development Corp.) got involved with the local economic development officials and offered the best package,” said Tamra Boucher, Wells County native and Haldrup USA managing director. “The cost of doing business here was better.”

In addition, Haldrup’s owner felt a connection to northeast Indiana. Haldrup is based in a small, rural community in Germany.

“The owner felt at home here,” Boucher said.

In October 2014, the company announced it would be investing $13 million to build a new 24,000-square-foot facility at the Ossian Industrial Park One.

At the start of 2016, Haldrup USA began operations at the park in its building that houses 4,000 square feet of offices and light storage and a 20,000-square-foot manufacturing floor.

The business hopes to create as many as 65 jobs in the near future.

For now, seven employees are running the show that involves sales, service and production for Haldrup’s North American business, with plans to continue growth in South America.

“We are still introducing our product to the market so we have a high level of folks on the team … we all do a lot of tasks,” Boucher said.

For the niche market of agricultural research, the company produces specialty equipment to be used on test plots.

While Haldrup USA builds its footprint across the pond, it is working directly with nearby Hoosier businesses in order to strengthen its business and the local economy, Boucher said.

Some of these businesses include metal fabricator Edge Manufacturing Inc. in Bluffton; manufacturer Trusted Supply Chain Partners in Ossian; powder and ceramic coater Panecea Paints & Coatings Inc. in Decatur; and Tech Services.

It may be an international company, but it believes in the local economies in which it invests, Boucher emphasized.