“This is a great day for Columbia,” announced Columbia Mayor Brian Treece at the ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Aurora Organic Dairy (AOD) milk processing plant to be built in Columbia.
The celebration gathered more than 70 supporters, including AOD executives, local elected officials, taxing district entities and REDI investors. Construction workers already busy at the site also joined the festivities at the former Sutter industrial site at Route B and Waco Rd.
Mayor Treece shared stories of his own childhood on a farm as he praised the AOD project, which will bring an initial investment of $106 million and 100 jobs to Columbia. With plans to invest another $50 million and add an additional 50 jobs within the first three years of operation, the AOD project is the largest Missouri Partnership capital investment project to date.
Mayor Treece noted AOD’s outreach to the University of Missouri and Moberly Area Community College to provide internship opportunities for students. He also pointed to AOD’s creation of middle-skill jobs that will provide family-sustaining wages, and AOD’s commitment to hiring employees that reflect the demographic of Columbia and support the goals of the City’s strategic plan.
Mark Peperzak, CEO of Aurora Organic Dairy, thanked the crowd for their support. He said that AOD had been looking at Columbia for some time as they considered future plans for the dairy, and were impressed by the culture of Columbia and how they thought their employees would be happy to live in the community. He also thanked the many people who worked to bring AOD to Columbia, citing the truly group effort that showed the wide support for the facility.
A reception at Commerce Bank for REDI investors and other supporters of the project followed the ceremony.