Empire State Development (ESD) today announced that dairy product manufacturer HP Hood will grow its operations in Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park. The project will include the addition of new processing systems, along with other upgrades which will allow the company to increase capacity for the production of additional extended-shelf-life (ESL) beverages at the Batavia facility. As a result, the company has committed to creating up to 48 new jobs at the manufacturing facility. To date, the company has created more than 400 jobs at the site and currently employs close to 1200 statewide. Hood purchased the on-site, 363,000-square-foot plant in 2018 from the Dairy Farmers of America for $60 million and soon after expanded the facility by another 100,000 square feet. HP Hood is the agri-business park’s largest landowner.
“This continued commitment from one of the nation’s most prominent dairy companies will create top-quality jobs and spur new investment in the Finger Lakes,” said Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight. “Agriculture and food processing are key pillars of the region’s economic development efforts, and HP Hood’s latest investment shows that our multi-pronged growth strategy is working.”
ESD is assisting the forward-thinking project with up to $1 million through the performance-based Excelsior Jobs Tax Credit Program in exchange for the job creation commitments. The total project cost has been placed at $120 million. Genesee County is also considering providing incentives for the project. Greater Rochester Enterprise also assisted with the expansion effort. Construction on the planned updates is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2025.
Headquartered in Lynnfield, Massachusetts, HP Hood has five New York State production facilities in Batavia, Vernon, Oneida, Arkport and Lafargeville. Founded in 1846, today Hood is one of the largest branded dairy operators in the United States. The company’s portfolio of national and super-regional brands and franchise products includes Hood, Crowley Foods, Planet Oat, Heluva Good!, LACTAID®, and Blue Diamond Almond Breeze®. The company’s annual sales are more than $3 billion.
Gary Kaneb, President and CEO of HP Hood LLC, said, “Our investment in the Batavia facility is being driven by the continued growth of ESLdairy and non-dairy beverage categories. We are grateful for the support of Empire State Development as Batavia continues to be a strategic site for the expansion of our ESL manufacturing capabilities.”
The Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park is located at the heart of the Buffalo-Rochester Tech Corridor. For additional information about the park, visit: http://gcedc.com/agpark.
New York State has a robust, thriving agricultural industry, and is home to almost 3,500 dairy farms and 620,000 cows. New York’s dairy industry is also the State’s largest agricultural sector. The majority of farms are family-run operations, supporting the framework of the State’s agricultural economy.
NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “HP Hood’s expansion in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park is good news for New York’s agricultural industry. Not only will this effort create new jobs and support hundreds of existing jobs in the Finger Lakes region, but it will also ensure that consumers far and wide can continue to enjoy the delicious, local, award winning products that HP Hood is known for. I thank our partners at Empire State Development and Finger Lakes Forward for helping to ensure that this project can come to fruition.”
State Senator George Borrello, said, “HP Hood’s investment in its Ag Park operations is a strategic recognition of the quality dairy and agricultural suppliers that surround them, the availability of a skilled workforce and the supportive partners in government committed to their success. This effort is another exciting addition to our region’s dairy industry projects pipeline, which just keeps growing. We are truly witnessing a transformation. Many thanks to Empire State Development, Genesee County officials and HP Hood’s leadership team for the vision and commitment that made this achievement possible.”
State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, said, “I’m happy to see Empire State Development’s announcement that HP Hood is expanding its operations in our region. Businesses like HP Hood play an important role in our state’s agriculture and specifically the dairy industry. Their commitment to add nearly 50 new full-time employees and retention of over 450 employees will provide more support for our local economy. This announcement is great news for our district and will have a positive impact on our community and Western New York as a whole.”
Genesee County Legislature Chairwoman Chair Rochelle M. Stein said, “We congratulate the family-owned dairy farms of this region for providing high quality and local milk for HP Hood’s growing ESL dairy beverages. This investment by HP Hood adds to the agricultural business foundation of our county and strengthens our regional agribusiness economic synergies from farm to consumer.”
Batavia Town Supervisor Greg Post, said, “The Town of Batavia is proud to be home of one of the most recognizable dairy brands in the United States. HP Hood’s growth will result in continued economic benefits to our town and even more career opportunities for our residents.”
Steve Hyde, Genesee County Economic Development Center President & CEO, said, “HP Hood’s growth has already exceeded expectations at the Ag Park and this project adds to the success of the agricultural and food and beverage manufacturing sectors which continues to be leading employment sectors of our economy. This expansion is another endorsement of Batavia and the Ag Park’s role as the leading dairy hub of the Northeastern United States, and our local workforce’s talent and readiness for food and beverage manufacturing.”
Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Co-Chair Bob Duffy, President and CEO, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce said, “This expansion not only strengthens our region’s position as a hub for food and beverage manufacturing, but also bolsters job creation and investment. We’re proud to see this growth in Genesee County, demonstrating that our efforts to revitalize communities and drive economic prosperity are yielding tangible results. We extend our sincere gratitude to Empire State Development for their commitment to our region’s economic growth and look forward to actively supporting HP Hood as they continue to expand and thrive.”
Matt Hurlbutt, President and CEO, Greater Rochester Enterprise, said, “HP Hood conducted a nationwide assessment and chose to expand here to leverage the Greater Rochester, NY region’s extensive food and beverage manufacturing ecosystem and workforce expertise. As demand for HP Hood products continues, we look forward to helping them accelerate their growth plans in the region.”
For additional information about HP Hood, visit: https://hood.com/