Umbarger Show Feeds celebrated Friday the grand opening of their new feed manufacturing facility at 186 S. County Road 600 East, Franklin. The $14 million facility features automated feed milling machinery, grain storage, a bagging line, a logistics division and corporate offices. The project retained 23 jobs and added 15 more.
A Bargersville family business grew from a local feed mill to a national brand that nourishes show livestock in 38 states.
The family legacy
Current co-owners Marty and Jackson Umbarger, Gov. Eric Holcomb, County Councilmember Rob Henderson and Franklin Mayor Steve Barnett spoke about the success of the company at the ceremony.
Roy Umbarger, a feed salesman who had dreamed of opening his own store, named the business with the idea his son, Walter, would take over and continue the legacy.
The business has gained renown in the agriculture world as Umbarger Show Feeds, but it was founded as Roy Umbarger and Son in the summer of 1939.
Walter Umbarger took over at age 26 after serving in World War II and oversaw several innovations that expanded services for local farmers.
Walter Umbarger passed the business on to his sons, Marty and Tom Umbarger, who between 1985 and 1991 made business decisions that made the brand what it is today. Marty Umbarger is currently president of the company and former adjutant general of the Indiana National Guard.
When Marty and Tom took over, the agricultural economy was in a downturn. Farmers had begun reducing their herds and selling their grazing and farm ground to land developers. As a result, the brothers rethought their brand, changing the business model from standard feed for livestock producers to high-quality feeds designed with show livestock in mind. The feed mill kept growing throughout the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s until an expansion became necessary to continue their growth.
Marty and Jackson Umbarger decided on the piece of land on the edge of the Franklin Bufferzone near Interstate 65, then worked with Franklin and Johnson County to make their expansion a reality. The location, about a mile from I-65, makes shipping easier, as the brand is distributed all over the country, said Jackson Umbarger, chief operating officer. The next chapter
Marty Umbarger speaks on Friday during an open house and dedication of the new Umbarger Show Feed manufacturing facility on the east side of Franklin. Scott Roberson | Daily Journal The Umbargers were emotional about leaving Bargersville, the town that has supported them for decades. Still, they knew growth potential was limited at their facility, which has become landlocked by Bargersville’s development, said Marty Umbarger.
“For many years this facility was a hope and a dream, now it is a reality,” Jackson Umbarger said, emphasizing the work it took to get to this point. “Maybe, just maybe we will have four more generations of Umbargers running this facility.” The old Bargersville manufacturing facility will be repurposed for another use, while the company’s agronomy division is still in town and the downtown grain elevator is still operational, Jackson Umbarger said.
The new location was built to upsize when the time is right. The facility sits on an oversized concrete pad that will allow for a 50% increase in manufacturing capacity, Jackson Umbarger said. The facility also has room to grow other aspects of the business, such as grain storage, by 20%, he said. “It was tough making the decision to move, but it wasn’t just right for us, it was also right for Bargersville,” Marty Umbarger said.