For the Muscatine Journal
Business is growing faster than summer wheat for the Muscatine-based Kent Corporation family of companies, which now employs approximately 1,800 employees and does business in the United States, Canada, and around the world.
In October 2016, Kent Nutrition Group, a division of the company, acquired the Deluxe Feeds organization, including its feed mills, retail business, and Midwest EnRG Flakes operations.
“We are very pleased to have Deluxe join our family of companies as we both share a passion and long tradition for providing customers with quality products and service,” said Gage A. Kent, chairman and CEO, Kent Corporation. “Our company has always been a strong supporter of U.S. and Iowa agriculture. The acquisition of Deluxe will continue to position us well in the industry and enhance our long-term ability to serve customers with trusted brands, superior customer service and competitive ingredient sourcing.”
That wasn’t all to hit in the last six months for Kent.
In August 2016, Kent Corporation’s subsidiary Kent Pet Group moved forward on a major expansion to its World’s Best Cat Litter manufacturing facility, to meet rising consumer demand and growth in the pet industry. The $17.3 million expansion project at the existing Muscatine-based facility will be completed by late 2018. The project will benefit the local economy by creating construction jobs and up to a dozen new permanent production staff positions.
“Muscatine is the right location to expand the production of World’s Best Cat Litter due to quality workforce in place and available to us,” said Gage Kent, CEO and Chairman for Kent Corporation. “The litter we produce right here in Muscatine is shipped to over 25 countries around the world. This new expansion is the latest commitment by Kent Corporation to the growth and expansion of Muscatine’s economy.”
“Demand for World’s Best Cat Litter continues to increase in the United States and internationally. This expansion will allow us to keep pace with growing customer demand for this innovative and effective litter product,” said Mike Eversmeyer, Kent Pet Group President.
In August 2016, Kent continued its expansion, acquiring privately held PouchTec Industries, a food and liquid packaging company based in Foley, Minnesota.
Gage Kent said, “On two important levels, we are pleased to bring PouchTec Industries into our Kent Precision Foods Group business. First, the core values of quality and service align very nicely between the two companies. And secondly, this acquisition will strengthen our growth plans for Kent Precision Foods Group.”
The company gives back to the community, not just in jobs and economic productivity, but in donations and partnerships, said Janet Sichterman, Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Communications.
In April 2016, the company gave a $50,000 donation to the Muscatine County Fair for the construction of a new restroom/shower facility at the south end of the fairgrounds. These improvements will allow the fair to expand its service to fairgoers, race fans, and the hundreds of youth that participate in the fair each year. And in September 2016, Muscatine Community College received a donation of $150,000 from Kent Corporation for its Loper Hall renovation project.
Also, Kent Pet Group partners with animal shelters and has donated more than 500,000 pounds of cat litter to approximately 100 shelters across the country through its GiveLitter program.
In addition, Kent Nutrition Group (KNG), a division of Kent Corporation, made its largest one-year gift to date to Iowa Agriculture, as Kent Corp and KNG donated $20,000 to the “I Believe” Campaign – an Iowa FFA Foundation giving program to help support the mission of Iowa FFA Enrichment Center by raising $5 million toward debt retirement of the facility construction in Ankeny. This facility serves FFA members, agricultural education students and Iowa FFA State officer teams.
”Young people are the key to a strong U.S. agriculture industry as we look to supply the food and fiber needed for our growing global population,” said John Thorpe, President, Kent Nutrition Group. “We are proud to be investing in the future of Iowa agriculture by sharing this gift with the Iowa FFA Foundation through the ‘I Believe’ campaign.”