Company Moving Ramen Production To Us, Black Hills

BELLE FOURCHE, S.D. (AP) — A California company plans to build one of the largest ramen producing facilities in the country in a small Black Hills community.

Albany Farms CEO Bill Saller says the complex in Belle Fourche will include a flour mill, production factories and packaging areas that would produce more than 100 million packages of ramen each year and eventually employ up to 900 people.

Belle Fourche Rail Park and South Dakota's agriculture economy are part of the plan, South Dakota Public Broadcasting reported. Wheat will be brought to the factory while ramen cups and packets will be shipped by train, Saller said.

Albany Farms recently bought a building in Belle Fourche for its factory and is working on purchasing 11 of the surrounding acres, according to company spokeswoman Stephanie Magoon.

The company manufactures its products overseas but decided it needed to switch gears once the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“With the onset of COVID, importing food became problematic. Transportation has become a major issue for food companies and certainly for us,” Saller said.

Saller said the price for their shipping containers has increased an average of $18,000 per container, doubling import costs. So, the company decided to move all manufacturing to the United States.

Albany Farms began looking for a site within the Black Hills after its lead engineer happened to be driving through the area, Saller said.

Albany Farms’ struggle with the international supply chain is a part of a global trend. Ports are clogged with shipping containers and companies and consumers have reported long wait times to receive products produced overseas.