COLUMBUS, GA. — Applied Food Biotechnology International (AFB), a global manufacturer of pet food ingredients, announced an investment of more than $79 million in a new facility in Columbus. The new facility will create more than 100 new jobs during the next five years.

Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp expressed his support of AFB’s new facility.

“Since taking office, I have been laser-focused on bringing opportunities to every corner of our state, and I am excited that a great company like AFB is answering that call and investing in the Columbus community,” Kemp said. “Near Fort Benning, AFB will find a highly capable workforce ready to meet their needs. I look forward to seeing this project’s impact, including its impact on the many military and veteran residents who could fill these quality positions.”

AFB provides palatants to the pet food industry, helping processors develop better tasting pet foods, treats and supplements. The company is headquartered in St. Charles, Mo., and has offices and production sites throughout the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, the Netherlands and China. The company is a subsidiary of Ensign-Bickford Industries, Inc., with origins dating back more than 175 years.

Currently, AFB’s palatant portfolio includes liquid and dry variations, as well as specialty palatants designed for premium diets, extruded, semi-moist, baked and injection-molded treats, rawhides, supplement tablets, drinks and gravy products.

“AFB is excited to become part of the Columbus community,” said Jared Lozo, president of AFB. “We are proud of the work we've done since 1986 to make pet food taste great, and pleased to continue our growth with the talented workforce in the Columbus region. For AFB, this plant is key to fulfilling our commitment to be the most responsive and reliable supplier of pet food palatant solutions in the world.”

The new facility will be located at the Muscogee Technology Park, which is a Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development (GRAD) Certified area in Muscogee County. In order to earn GRAD certification, a property must exceed strict requirements and complete specific certifications.

“As a global science and technology leader, AFB will be a great partner for our community," said Heath Schondelmayer, chairman of the Development Authority of Columbus. “We are extremely excited about this announcement because growing Columbus and creating jobs for this community is our top priority. Our local economic development team and our state of Georgia partners came together to turn this opportunity into a win, and we're confident that our top-notch quality of life and talented workforce will ultimately set up AFB to achieve business success for many years to come.”

To support the facility project, John Soper, project manager and representative of the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s (GDEcD) Global Commerce team, partnered with the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce and Georgia Power.

GRAD and GDEcD bring together community planners with landowners to help further economic growth and industrial development for Georgia. Through GRAD and GDEcD’s program, Georgia offers more than 60 certified industrial sites, fully prepared to help fast-track industrial projects like AFB’s facility.

Georgia Quick Start, a division of the Technical College System of Georgia, has also joined in on the project. Georgia Quick Start helps assess potential workers, train new employees and develop customized job training using innovative techniques to support companies investing in the state.

“AFB perfectly aligns with Georgia's spirit of collaboration and innovation, and we are excited for the jobs and opportunities their new facility will create for local communities,” said Pat Wilson, commissioner of GDEcD. “Urgency of customer demand has been a key challenge for many companies in the last year. We are grateful for our partners in Columbus for investing in speed-to-market solutions like the GRAD program, and we look forward to AFB's future success in Georgia.”

The facility is expected to begin operations in 2024. AFB will be hiring new management, engineering, operations and administrative personnel to support the new facility.

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