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Sausage-maker links expansion, success to Wisconsin workforce

December 14, 2022
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When sausage-maker Salm Partners LLC decided to invest in a $35 million expansion in the village of Denmark, the company stayed close to its roots, Wisconsin’s strong workforce, and the state’s thriving food and beverage industry.

“What we’re ecstatic about in Denmark and northeastern Wisconsin is: We’ve got a great workforce, and we’ve got a lot of contractors and tradespeople to work with on our expansions,” said Keith Lindsey, the firm’s president and CEO. “We’re very confident of our ability to expand and grow here in northeastern Wisconsin.”

That’s obvious from the company’s history of growth. Since its founding by four brothers in a 25,000-square-foot facility in Denmark in 2004, Salm Partners has grown to about 200,000 square feet—including the new expansion that will provide two more production lines to help satisfy customer demand.

Salm doesn’t have its own brand. Instead, it is the nation’s largest co-manufacturer of quality sausage and hot dog products sold under its customers’ brands.

Its cook-in-package method ensures efficiency, quality and industry-leading food safety, because the process eliminates microbiological risks.

“Salm is quietly and rapidly becoming a big deal in the meat industry, producing 15% of the country’s cooked sausage products,” said Missy Hughes, WEDC secretary and CEO.

WEDC helped to make the expansion a reality, providing up to $950,000 in state tax credits over the next three years. The actual amount of those credits depends on the number of jobs created. Salm expects to add 193 jobs during that time.

Salm is part of a Wisconsin food and beverage industry that boasts more than 3,700 companies employing more than 107,000 workers.

The state is seen as a natural for the food industry, based on its central location, a high concentration of manufacturing workers and ready access to academic excellence, research and collaboration through the University of Wisconsin System.

The industry is also drawn to Wisconsin because of its powerhouse status in agriculture, with nearly 65,000 farms. There are about 14.3 million acres of Wisconsin agricultural land, and the economic impact of agriculture is estimated at nearly $105 billion.

In addition to the 193 jobs Salm Partners plans to create, an economic modeling study estimates that the project could indirectly generate 335 additional jobs regionally. Together, those jobs are expected to generate more than $1 million in state income tax revenue over a five-year period.

“This helps us continue to let our customers grow in the marketplace,” Lindsey said of the project. “We’re making the same products we’ve always made; we’re just able to continue supporting the growth of our customers.”

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