When Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizer stages an open house, they don't fool around.
More than 200 dealers and managers across the country, the director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, an entire NASCAR team and the Lt. Governor are scheduled to make an appearance Wednesday at the company's new plant in Ashley.
"Michigan is kind of special," said company spokesman Lonny Smith. "Plant openings in Kansas and Iowa weren't as big. We have deep roots here, we're loyal to the state."
Activities will take place from morning to evening and the public is welcome from 4 to 6 p.m., he said. Guided tours will be available for those interested and about 400 more people are expected then.
The Ashley plant is the company's largest facility with manufacturing, truck loading and distribution all under one roof.
Headquarters remain in St. Johns.
Smith, who along with
CEO Troy Bancroft and his sons, will be on hand to answer questions.
Smith noted that when it comes to liquid fertilizers, people have concerns about the environment.
"We're received skeptically," Smith said. "But after 30 years studying plant nutrition, we can show the steps that we are responsible, it is sustainable and that principles and products do work together."
He also pointed out that the company has a strong growth pattern and has been named one of "Michigan's top 50" companies to watch.
"We are far ahead of the curve," he said.
The new plant is located on the old Paragon Co. site and that spot has had a history dating back to the 1880s. And one time or another it has been the location of a charcoal maker, an agriculture equipment manufacturer, a lumber company and a rail car repair facility.
It's not surprising therefore that the 50,000 square foot building has been part of a Gratiot brownfield redevelopment plan.