International ag manufacturer chooses McLean County facility

HUDSON, Ill. - A Canadian-based agricultural equipment manufacturer has announced its acquisition of the former Kongskilde Industries facility after ongoing negotiations with the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council (BNEDC), McLean County government, and Unit 5 Schools.

Brandt Group of Companies is headquartered in Regina, Saskatchewan, and services markets in Canada, the United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Brandt produces a wide variety of farm-based equipment ranging from augers to grain belts, carts, movers, and sprayers. The purchase of the 200,000 square-foot facility is Brandt's first manufacturing venture inside the United States.

"We are very excited at the prospect of saving this plant from closure," said Shaun Semple, Brand President. "This is a world-class manufacturing facility and we are delighted to have the opportunity to make a tangible contribution to the growth of the American economy."

Brandt became interested in McLean County in part due to its central location in the heart of U.S. agribusiness and its proximity to a vast transportation infrastructure. The company is planning capital investment in facility construction, equipment, and personnel.

The 40-acre property will also house Brandt's U.S. headquarters. Production is expected to begin around March 2018. Brandt's employment plan is to hit 300 full-time workers by 2024, with a potential of up to 500 workers once expansion has been completed. 

The proposed jobs will include wages at or above the current average for manufacturing industry standards.

“This investment is a tremendous opportunity for the state of Illinois and the local community,” said Governor Bruce Rauner. “Brandt is a company that embraces innovation and has a solid understanding of the assets that exist within Central Illinois, including the top-notch and highly skilled workforce, the proximity to suppliers, and the world-class educational institutions.”

“Brandt’s interest in McLean County is a reflection on our strong local economy, our excellent workforce, and our community’s desire to lead in job creation,” said John McIntyre, McLean County Board Chair.

“With the recent addition of Rivian Automotive and now our negotiations here, McLean County is leading the way in bringing manufacturing jobs back to Illinois,” said Kyle Ham, BNEDC CEO. “This project is a part of our BN Advantage attraction efforts. The company is a success story of entrepreneurship and agribusiness – both of which fit our local strengths.”

Kongskilde will move its operations to a new location in Normal. The deal is expected to close with Brandt on December 15.

Published by: Zach Dietmeier