Gov. Laura Kelly and Secretary of Commerce David Toland spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, celebrating the official grand opening of the new Nor-Am Cold Storage Facility in Dodge City.


The state-of-the-art freezing, storage and processing facility was built by Tipmann Innovations and is the largest Nor-Am Cold Storage Facility at 148,000 square feet.


The facility is equipped with premier freezing equipment, high-density racking, semi-automated pallet shuttle technology with nearly 17,000 pallet positions and a 50,000-square-foot processing area.


Dodge City is the seventh location for a Nor-Am Cold Storage facility in the United States, and the second facility in Kansas, with the first being in Elwood.


"The combined investment of the Dodge City and Elwood operations represent nearly 60 billion dollars of investment and 170 full-time jobs for Kansans," said Kelly. "Nor-Am offers employees beyond just a job, good benefits and job opportunity with growth potential. It strives to be an active community partner."


Kelly said that Nor-Am could not have picked a better time or location to expand into Dodge City, citing the ensuing meat-shortages brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic that highlighted the importance of a healthy food supply chain.


Kelly acknowledged the difficulty and unexpected challenges that all Kansas agricultural producers have been facing due to COVID-19.


"They confronted these challenges with the perseverance and determination that Kansans have shown for generations," said Kelly. "They adapted quickly, successfully maintain the food supply chain to feed our state, the nation and the world during the worst public health crisis in a century."


Kelly thanked area meat processors such as Tyson Fresh Meats, Cargill Meat Solutions and National Beef for implementing health strategies that have allowed them to maintain production despite many other producer plants shutting down because of COVID-19 and called agriculture the "backbone" of the Kansas economy.


"What you see here in the heart of beef country is a state-of-the-art facility that is critical in the food supply chain," Toland said. "Our state’s central location for logistics and distribution is a true difference-maker for companies and is why Nor-Am and so many other companies are choosing Kansas as the place to invest."


Rob Adams, of Tipmann Innovations, said Dodge City should be proud of their work during the challenges of COVID-19 and commended the work ethic and labor of the several local contractors who worked on the facility.


"J and R Construction, Overhead Door of Dodge City, Kitchens Inc. of Dodge City did the great cabinetry work, JKMI with the refrigeration system, Victory Electric, and IST are just some of the great companies that helped us build this facility," said Adams.


Nor-Am CEO Greg Brandt said in addition to their established partnership with National Beef, the new facility also holds a production and processing room for pet food purveyor Shelby Foods.


"We look at it from our end, we’re here to help National Beef do their job and do it better, we’re here to help Shelby Foods have the best product available, and more importantly we want to know that our cattle-producers and our feeders have a quality place for their stuff to go as we distribute it around the world and across the country," said Brandt. "We take that job seriously and we’re thrilled to be here."


According to city manager Nick Hernandez, the opening of the Nor-Am Cold Storage Facility has added 60 jobs, with an additional total of 90 jobs planned to be added over the next three years.