Countryside Feed investing $8 million in Hillsboro mill

HILLSBORO—Countryside Feed has plans in the works for an $8 million capital improvement project and expansion in Hillsboro.

Brandon Acton, the plant manager, said the expansion has been in the works for nearly a year and includes refurbishment, new equipment and an infrastructure overhaul that will bring traffic off city streets and on to Countryside Feed property. The overall super-structure of the mill will also be growing about 20 feet. He also anticipates the project will add seven new jobs.

Acton, who specializes in plant evaluations and has a passion for efficiency, said the project is “looking at how we set ourselves up for the future and where we want to be in the next 15 to 20 years.”

He called the project “a significant increase in capacity and wanting to grab more market share.”

Currently, the mill runs all three shifts six days a week with 35 full time employees, producing in the realm of 500 tons a day. Acton said the mill’s current production capacity warranted an expansion.

We bring in raw materials—corn, oats, whatever—we store it and then, in layman’s terms, we have a recipe that goes into a blender. We add the ingredients, and then we deliver in bulk, or we package it in bags and it is sold retail.”

During the project, which is anticipated to take about a year to complete, Acton said, “We’re going to maintain operation at the same time we’re doing this. The challenge is going to be to continue to be operational.” Though, he anticipates some weekend shutdowns.

One of the most visible improvements will be a new entrance, moving traffic off of Santa Fe and building a road on Countryside property.

Putting the traffic lineup on our property, we don’t have to have trucks park on city streets. It increases safety, and we’re lining up on our property. We’re creating a road all the way across for all our in-bound trucks,” he said.

While it will not be a publicly seen component, Acton said a new load-out system will allow trucks to move through the plant faster and with a better traffic flow.

It is an increase in safety, and it is more efficient. The increase we’ll get from the [load-out] efficiency, the traffic flow efficiency. I’m excited about how we can work smarter, not harder” he said.

Acton said groundbreaking will begin in approximately six weeks.

The mill will be working with city, local and officials to leverage tax abatements and state-level funding mechanisms to finance the project. Acton said the current $8 million investment represents phase I, with phase II, which will be an equitable large project, a possibility in five to seven years.

We need to continue to expand, need to replace equipment, and if you’re going to do it, do it right and look to future needs. If you are going to spend, you want to do the right kind of spending, with the intention you’re going to set yourself up for success,” Acton said.

Countryside Feed is a multi-species mill and a licensed Purina manufacturer that was established in Hillsboro in 1998.

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