St. Joseph is an integral part of the Midwest’s animal health corridor, a region where scientists, researchers, students and hundreds of employees develop, test and export vaccines, medicines, foods and other products in the animal health industry. Throughout the city, multiple businesses contribute to the animal health industry. One leader in this global business is the German family-owned company Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI).
What better place to produce animal health products than in the heartland where the cattle industry once boomed and where farms line the highways between towns? BIVI saw potential in this area and hasn’t been disappointed. Within the last five years BIVI in St. Joseph has increased its production, expanded its facilities, hired more employees, and has planned future expansions that will provide for better storage and shipping of its products.
Here in St. Joseph, about 150 scientists and 750 other employees labor to create vaccines for animals such as cattle, horses, and swine. With ample farmland in the area, BIVI was able to find a farm nearby where they test treatments for pork and cattle.
In 2011, the St. Joseph site for BIVI increased its global manufacturing capacity by 50 percent as the animal health industry grew all around the Kansas City region. While the United States is Boehringer’s best customer, farmers and ranchers around the world need these products to ensure a healthy food supply for their communities. Animal pharmaceuticals created here in St. Joseph are exported to over 50 countries.
Dr. Albrecht Kissel, BIVI’s president and chief executive officer, says that his company works to attract a strong and educated workforce in animal health. He is encouraged when smaller animal health companies, in the hopes of benefitting from those around them, locate in this notable corridor. With those smaller companies come skilled and knowledgeable workers who may decide to join the BIVI team one day.
Not only do the surrounding animal health businesses and local farms support the work of BIVI, but the company also rallies support from the local education system. Boehringer does not simply wait for good employees to come to them. They go out to the schools to help shape students into future animal health professionals. BIVI gave $250,000 to the St. Joseph School District Foundation to build an expansion at HillyardTechnicalCenter. Through partnerships and better training, BIVI is preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs.
Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. continues to grow in Missouri’s Northwest region. Because of increased exports, plans are currently underway to build a warehouse facility at the EastowneBusinessPark. St. Joseph supports animal health businesses like BIVI. Facilities like MissouriWesternStateUniversity’s Kit Bond Science and Technology Incubator offer researchers a place to gather and share innovative ideas and local farmers offer input and places to test products. Through its agricultural location, training facilities, complimentary companies, and consumers, St. Joseph continues to support Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. in its next step forward in Northwest Missouri.