Hersey salt plant acquired by international company
HERSEY — A potash and salt production facility in Hersey is in the process of changing hands according to a press release from Cargill, Inc, an international food preparation company.
Cargill Salt, a branch of the main company, has purchased the facility in Hersey from the Mosaic Company. The plant used to produce both potash and salt products.
The press release states the plant ceased its production of potash in 2013 and went up for sale as a salt production plant.
Potash is derived from potassium compounds and is commonly used in the making of fertilizers.
Hersey falls under the Reed City Chamber of Commerce jurisdiction, and Executive Director Suzie Williams said that while the terms of the negotiation have not been released, the transfer of the company is complete.
“It’s happening as we speak,” she said.
Now that the Hersey plant has been fully acquired by Cargill, it will continue to operate, producing salt products used in water softening and agriculture. The press release also states that the Mosaic Company employed about 80 people at the plant prior to the transfer. Williams said she expects that number to remain almost the same now that Cargill is in control.
“As far as I know, most of the employees have stayed at the plant,” she said.
Williams said she can see no major downfall to having the plant purchased by Cargill. In fact, she said the purchase is a good thing as it will keep several jobs in the area and continue to make use of the facility.
“It’s good the salt plant remains open and employs people,” she said. “It remains in our community providing jobs for people who need them.”
Mark Klein, a commodities and food safety expert with Cargill, said the Hersey community is a good fit for the company.
“We have completed the transaction and now own the facility. We’ll be operating it and we’ve hired the existing staff of about 80 people and are looking forward to running the business,” he said. “It’s a good plant with a good team. It will allow us to serve our existing customers from an additional location and it’s an opportunity to get some additional customers.”
Klein said salt products produced by the plant under Cargill’s charge will be sold to grocery store and hardware chains as well as farms and farm stores. He said all of those venues will need to stock their shelves with water softeners, and farm stores will likely need to supply agricultural products such as salt blocks for animals.
More than anything, Klein said the company is glad to be able to keep the business in Hersey and get to know the community.
“We’re a leading producer of salt in the U.S. and a couple of other places. Salt is our business, so it’s a very good fit for us and it keeps the business there in Hersey,” he said. “The existing team there has been involved in the community and we felt that was a positive for us because we are strong believers in being involved in the communities where we operate.”