Exclusive: US Foods & Pharmaceuticals plans to call Minot home, bring dairy farm business

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A Wisconsin-based company announced plans to make Minot home.

The city may soon be the home of U.S. Foods and Pharmaceuticals, according to North Dakota Sen. Oley Larsen.

The company aims to bring the dairy farm business back to North Dakota after an astounding decline.

“In the 60s, we had over 500,000 head of dairy cows in North Dakota. And now we are under, the last numbers I heard, we are under 19,000,” Larsen said.

The company specializes in food and milk processing, nutraceuticals (or nutritional supplements) and other pharmaceutical products.

The president of the company, Rajan Vembu, said that he aims to build facilities to produce these products and export them globally.

“Where North Dakota is in the dairy-producing area, it gives a tremendous opportunity for growth,” said Vembu.

He also said the vision of the project is to take technology from the various aspects of their company and put it under one roof.

The project is estimated to take five years, and while there have been talks about the project costing $750 million, Larsen says the project may cost less.

“I made it very clear to them that no time would we be at that number, but that’s the transparency number of what it costs to build and have this facility implemented to its fullest,” said Larsen.

U.S. Foods and Pharmaceuticals intends to work closely with Minot area development as well as other sources to secure funding, but Vembu says he is determined to give back to North Dakota.

He went to college in India but had a professor there from the Peace Garden State that afforded him the opportunity to travel the world and build his business.

“When we fully implement the center of excellence, for farm to pharma, North Dakota will be the global star in that technology,” said Vembu.

Upon completion, U.S. Foods and Pharmaceuticals looks to add 3,500 jobs to the area. Vembu said that a project like this in any other area would cost in the neighborhood of $2 billion.

The company will create a wide range of jobs, including engineers and pharmaceutical doctors.

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