Prairie Farms, Carlinville, Ill., announced that an $8.7 million investment in its Fort Wayne, Ind., facility is underway. The expansion will allow the company to add jobs, manufacture new specialty products and expand its distribution footprint in the United States and Central America.

The company plans to build an extension onto its existing manufacturing facility. Construction on the 22,500-square-foot building is expected to begin in April, and be complete within 18 months. It will include a new processing system, storage vessels, packaging lines, equipment to accommodate existing production, a cooler and a dry storage warehouse.

“Prairie Farms has been a part of the Fort Wayne community for 23 years, and we’re looking forward to many more. We currently employ 117 people, and through this expansion, we are pleased to offer more local jobs. Along with the expansion comes a bigger distribution footprint for us. Once complete, we will ship more Prairie Farms products from coast to coast and to Central America,” says Chuck McQuaig, Fort Wayne general manager. “Fort Wayne is a business-friendly town that encourages expansion, not only for Prairie Farms, but [also for] all local companies. We appreciate Mayor Henry’s willingness to work with us, and are thankful for the support of the Indiana Economic Development Corp., Fort Wayne’s City Council Members, Greater Fort Wayne Inc. Metro Chamber Alliance and Northeast Indiana Works.”