published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Howard Fertilizer set to begin operations
By BARRY FOSTER
LAKE PLACID - It was nearly a year ago, officials of Howard Fertilizer & Chemical announced plans to locate a new plant in the Lake Placid area. They now report the facility will be on line and operational sometime next month.
The company purchased the Oakley Brothers Packing Plant on State Road 70 in an effort to locate their operations closer to citrus, sugar cane and vegetable fields.
Howard Fertilizer Operations manager Bryan Sigrist expects the first truck will roll out of the plant sometime in mid-Novemnber and the railroad spur is being utilized.
"We have boxcars parked there now," he said.
The new plant is fully automated and described as state-of-the-art. The 60,000-square-foot building on 17 acres is said to be one of the largest in the state and could bring as many as 30 new jobs when fully operational.
To start, there will be about a half dozen employees at the site. The workers have been hired out of Highlands and Okechobee counties. All reportedly have experience in fertilizer.
The next big step is to train the new employees; those instructional sessions are set for the first week in November.
The firm will get the raw materials for blending from as far away as Canada and the Middle East Soime of the stock already is at the plant and ready to be made into finished product.
Howard Fertilizer is the first company to benefit from Highlands County's tax abatement program. County commissioners in June of this year voted unanimoulsy to give up more than 70 percent of the ad valorem taxes that would have been assessed against the property over the next decade.
That translates to approximately $165,000 over the 10 years.
On the plus side, officials of the Economic Development Commission said the company would contribute $1.6 million in real property improvements and $1.9 million in tangible personal property investments. They also estimated the county could see as much as $34 million brought into the county over the same time frame.
There already has been an open house. It was held the same night as the Highlands County Industrial Development Authority/Economic Developmen Commission's annual dinner.
"We wanted it to be held before the plant opened, before it started up - while the facility is still clean," he said
Howard Fertilizer has a number of locations throughout the state, with liquid production plants in Immokalee, Quincy and Orlando. There also are a number of chemical operations including; Bowling Green, Delray Beach, Homestead, Immokalee and Orlando.
Distribution centers are throughout the Southeast with locations in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama.
Orlando closing (by: Loyal employee's wife - 2/5/2013)
I just wanted to take the time to tell Mr, Howard thank you letting my husband work for your company for 11 years. Never being late on his loads , never having any accidents ,being loyal and being a team player. After speaking with the office about giving the drivers ample notice for it takes time to get your ducks in a row, oh yes they said, we had a date didnt think they would meet that date ,but he comes home on Monday being 2/4/2013 with a nice dear John letter that the plant will close on friday. That is so wrong in more ways than one , I have been unemployed for over a year now with no luck finding a job. But at last when I got threw out to the curb my job gave a severence pay for 6 months and paid my medical insurance , still the way these companies want good loyal ,hard working employees , when they are done with them they just put you out like garbage. They could at least have enough balls to gather the employees and let them know they are apperciated for all the loyal years put into their company .You just keep making millions while having no respect for your employees.Karma will catch up with you an yours...
(by: Loyal worker - 11/7/2012)
Thats nice but too bad they are screwing their current plant employees in Orlando. Not telling them the plant will be closing & they will all not have a job. So wonderful right before the holidays while they are making millions! They could at least have an of ounce of respect and appreciation and inform the employees
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