With the gentle coaxing of AEP Ohio’s customer service and economic development teams, Tessenderlo Kerley – which produces a range of sulfur-based fertilizers – has decided to build a new plant in Defiance, Ohio, that will serve the eastern Great Lakes region.

“This is a very big deal for Defiance,” said John Recker, AEP Ohio Customer & External Affairs manager. “Whenever the region can win a highly competitive project like this its big news for all of northwest Ohio.”

Located about 40 miles north of Lima, Defiance was selected as the factory site over competitors including Leipsic, Kenton, Lima and other cities in Michigan and Indiana. The new facility, which is expected to bring about 20 long-term jobs to the area, will focus on the liquid sulfur-based crop nutrition brands Thio-Sul, KTS and K-Row 23 as well as sulfite chemistries for industrial markets.

The plant is expected to become operational in the first quarter of 2024.

“Our investment in this new manufacturing facility will service the local community and support the increased demand in the region,” said Russell Sides, executive vice president at Tessenderlo Kerley. “This strategic venture not only combines excellence in process technology, but also diversifies our local market position and strengthens our sustainability goals by bringing us closer to our customers.”

Recker sees the announcement as a possible springboard for other businesses locating to the area or rooting existing companies’ future growth there. The industrial park where Tessenderlo Kerley is headed is “shovel-ready” and could prove increasingly attractive to other businesses.

“Sometimes it’s a domino effect,” Recker said. “You need that anchor tenant in the complex and that can get the attention that helps build the momentum for continued growth.”

Recker said the company is an ideal fit for the community. He hopes the announcement may spur others like it.

“Agribusiness is a key sector in the Northwest Ohio economy. We’re farm country and it’s just the kind of business that’s right at home here,” Recker said. “It’s a very good thing for Defiance, for AEP Ohio and for all the people who live and work in this community.”

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