DYERSVILLE, Iowa -- A Dyersville puffed-grains manufacturer plans a $26.5 million relocation and expansion that will double its existing workforce in the area.

Ancient Brands Milling was awarded tax benefits today by the Iowa Economic Development Authority Board for the project. The company plans to build a new 92,000-square-foot facility in Dyersville to replace its current location in town.

The move will create space for new cereal manufacturing equipment and is expected to increase the company's capacity from 2.5 million pounds to 30 million pounds of puffed product per year, IEDA documents state.

"This high-impact expansion project is really going to empower Ancient Brands to continue serving our team members, our clients and our community," said Ancient Brands Milling President Patrick Hemminger.

The project represents a capital investment of $26.5 million and is expected to create a minimum of 17 jobs over the next three years at a qualifying wage of $22.63 per hour. Hemminger said Ancient Brands Milling currently employs 16 people in the Dyersville area, with several employees at a satellite location in Colorado.

In 2020, Ancient Brands Milling bought assets from Anderson Inc., which formerly leased a building in Dyersville’s Northwest Industrial Park. The current project will see Ancient Brands Milling leave that facility for a new, larger one in the city's 20 West Industrial Center along U.S. 20.

Ancient Brands Milling currently manufactures organic and non-GMO puffed grains that are gluten-free and allergen-free, in addition to co-manufacturing products such as cereal, granola, energy bars and plant-based alternatives for products such as milks and ice creams.

The new facility will increase the company's production capacity for those ingredients and also will add a second production line for puffed wheats and grains that contain gluten. 

"We’re building a very purposely designed facility that is going to be completely segregated and will allow us to continue to serve our current clients that enjoy our gluten-free, allergen-free attributes, while also opening up these highly innovative options to fulfill a very strong demand in puffed wheats and puffed grains that contain gluten," Hemminger said. "Because we’re providing more availability of these ingredients, we’re starting to see groups and companies develop more products on the puffed grain platform that we’re building."

He said the cereal manufacturing equipment that will be installed at the company's new facility will be the only one of its kind in North America.

Hemminger said Ancient Brands Milling is "sticking to a realistic timeframe" for the project, which will involve not only construction but also delivery of equipment from Europe. He said the company hopes to begin recruiting employees during the first quarter of 2023 and to open the new facility around April.

IEDA awarded Ancient Brands Milling $769,093 in tax credits and refunds for the project. Additionally, IEDA documents state that the City of Dyersville will provide the business with a 10-year, 80% tax increment financing rebate with an estimated value of $2 million.

Jacque Rahe, executive director of Dyersville Economic Development Corp., worked with city and company officials on the application for state funding. She said now that the state incentives have been secured, the city will begin its "public process" for approval of the TIF funding for the project.

Rahe praised Ancient Brands Milling's investment in the project, which she said will increase awareness of the company's strong position in the Dyersville economy.

"They have really stepped up production and are working hard on stepping up awareness of the company," she said. "It’s been a hidden gem in the community, and we’re really looking forward to getting them out there on the highway and really growing with them."

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