Georgia agriculture commissioner takes a look at Meredian’s future
Published 8:56 pm Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black visited and toured Meredian Inc.’s facilities Tuesday.
Black saw Meredian’s main laboratories as well as the million-square-foot plant where Meredian’s sister company AGROcrush will move into.
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“When it’s a business coming to Atlanta or coming to Augusta or somewhere, that’s great, but here we have an opportunity for Bainbridge, Georgia, to really do cutting-edge, some things that will really change some problems that the world is facing,” Black said. “It’s exciting to see that agriculture can play a role in that, because there are a lot of jobs waiting right here when this is perfected and scaled up.”
Meredian Chief Operating Officer Michael Smith shared the company’s plans and hopes for expansion in the future as team members try to move toward higher density production.
“They’re making all the right moves,” Black said. “It’s step-by-step and scaling up. One of their biggest challenges right now is moving from the laboratory to the first stage of scaling so they can produce the product.”
The company is excited about utilizing locally grown canola, and company representatives encouraged local farmers to learn more about the crop at last week’s Canola Institute at Bainbridge State College.
“Then you have farming opportunities,” Black said. “The double cropping capabilities (Bainbridge has) that really matches up with peanuts and cotton, something to do in the wintertime— canola fits that.”
Black said that the technology Meredian and its sister companies are working on have the potential to put Bainbridge on the map and “change the game for a lot of people.”
In April of this year, Meredian’s biopolymer received a Food Substance Contact Notification approval from the Food and Drug Administration, certifying that some of the products are safe for use as food storage containers.
Black said that such approval shows that the science in on the company’s side.
“It’s very easy to identify problems,” Black said. “It’s more exciting when we identify a problem and somebody has a solution. That’s what we’re in need of. There’s no doubt that from a plastic standpoint, there are issues there, and it’s exciting that these guys have a solution that’s based with an opportunity for agriculture to grow.”