LITTLE FALLS, Minn. — Brainerd-based Barrett Petfood Innovations (BPI) broke ground at the site of its newest pet food manufacturing facility in Little Falls on Aug. 14, where the co-manufacturer said it would begin to “push the barriers further in fresh ingredients” with additional extrusion capabilities.

“We already are adding industry leading levels of fresh ingredients and feel like there is a market for products that may fall between kibble and raw or freeze dried,” explained Tom Barrett, vice president of business development and purchasing. “In addition to this, some of Wenger’s new technologies will allow us to do a baked product out of this new line.”

The Little Falls plant will feature a state-of-the-art extrusion line from Wenger Manufacturing, Inc., based in Sabetha, Kansas. The Wenger TT3630 Thermal Twin extruder will increase the co-manufacturer’s ability to include high levels of fresh meat, fruit and vegetables in its pet food diets.

Wenger's TT3630 Thermal Twin extruder.

“We have worked with Wenger since we got in the business,” Barrett said. “We currently operate a Wenger TX-144 and it has been a great machine for us. We wanted to push further with capabilities and Wenger has that industry-leading option. We feel as though their equipment is second to none.”

In addition to Wenger’s contributions, Nor Son Construction will design BPI’s new plant, Horizon Systems will provide all material conveying equipment, and JEM International is handling the co-manufacturer’s packaging needs, Barrett said.

“Little Falls was great to work with from the start, it is a great community with great leadership,” Barrett said when asked why Little Falls was chosen as the location for BPI’s second production site. “It is also well positioned for staffing and transportation,” he added.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development contributed a total of $625,000 to the project, including $450,000 from the Minnesota Investment Fund and $175,000 from the Job Creation Fund. BPI’s new facility is expected to employ at least 85 people over the next three years.

BPI currently operates at a 110,000-sq.-ft. facility in Brainerd. The company primarily produces premium diets for dogs and cats, but manufactures small animal, bird, reptile, and zoo-animal foods as well.

Read more about Barrett Petfood Innovations’ groundbreaking ceremony in Little Falls.

Find more articles about pet food processing operations on our Operations page.