SPRINGFIELD, Mo.–The largest brand of pasture-raised eggs in the country is expanding here in Springfield bringing with it new jobs.
The first phase of construction has already begun at a job ready site for Vital Farms at the Partnership Industrial Center West. Once completed, it will create 50 new jobs within its first year and more expected in the future.
“Right now we are starting initial phases of construction which will be land clearing and dirt work,” said Charlie Weaver, the project superintendent on-site with Branco Enterprises.
An empty field now, but in exactly one year it will be the home of a processing facility for Vital Farms, a network of more than 100 small family-owned farms where hens are raised outdoors.
“The flocks of birds have to be in a warm enough climate so that they have the chance to go outside 12 months a year,” said Vital Farms president Rusell Diez-Canseco.
This facility will be an addition to more than 300 food solutions companies already in the state of Missouri.
“Where can I get my food products to market in a way that they are not going to spoil, that they are going to get there quickly? And because of our roads, and our access to railroads in the U.S., Missouri is in a very good location for that,” said Mark Sutherland, VP of market strategies at Missouri Partnership.
Diez-Canseco says they chose the Show-Me-State due to its central location; their eggs are sold in all 50 states except Hawaii.
“Having access to a number of highways in the middle of the country is really beneficial,” he said.
The company has farms in the Seymour area, Buffalo, and El Dorado Springs. But in addition to proximity to producers, city leaders say it helped that Springfield is ready to welcome new development.
“Proximity to the farms, but then the development-ready land is really what drew them to the Springfield region,” said Justin Coyan, business development manager at the Chamber of Commerce. “And, specifically, Partnership Industrial Center West and the speed to market that they were able to achieve through that ready land.”
The new facility will also focus on environmental sustainability by restoring native vegetation and developing a water run-off system.
“That’s very consistent with the business we are in and the way we think about being a part of a community,” said Diez-Conseco. “We want to leave it better than we found it.”
Vital Farms eggs are not sold in the Springfield area, but the president says he hopes the company’s presence here will encourage more stores to make their products available locally.