Kansas City is known for a lot of wonderful things. Jazz. Barbecue. Chiefs football and Royals baseball. And animal health companies? While it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Kansas City, we are located right in the middle of the Animal Health Corridor. Between Columbia, Mo., and Manhattan, Kan., sits the single largest concentration of animal health and nutrition companies in the world.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, we have a long and proud agricultural history. The KC stockyards that were established in 1871 grew to be one of the largest stockyards in the world, second only to Chicago in the United States. Because of our rich agricultural heritage, Kansas City became a leader not only in livestock operations but also in supporting trades such as veterinary medicine and animal food production all of which helped pave the way for the existence of the Animal Health Corridor. But the Corridor is more than just a way to describe a concentration of existing animal health product manufacturers and service providers. The Corridor represents an organized interest in the animal health industry as a whole, contributing actively to the growth and success of animal health companies throughout the region.
Kansas City area companies already account for more than half of all worldwide sales of animal health, diagnostics and pet food. Local companies and universities lead the country in veterinary programs, animal health and nutrition research and innovation. In recognition of this fact, key players in local business have banded together to form the KC Animal Health Initiative, which helps cultivate a climate of increased opportunity for the animal health and nutrition industry in Kansas City. Organizations taking a leading role in the Initiative include the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute, and the Kansas City Area Development Council.
Here are more interesting statistics from the 2014 KC Animal Health Corridor Asset Survey:
*31 animal health companies have located in the KC Animal Health Corridor since 2006, adding a potential 1,368 new jobs and $78.6 million in new annual payroll.
*Companies located in the Corridor claim 49 percent of global pet food sales, or $30.6 billion a year out of $63 billion. Among the manufacturers are Nestlé Purina PetCare Co., Mars Petcare and Hill’s Pet Nutrition.
*Survey conducted by Axxiom Consulting
“This latest survey is a powerful endorsement of nearly a decade of cooperation, teamwork and strategic focus that has driven the activities of the KC Animal Health Corridor effort since 2006,” said Scott Bormann, chairman of the Corridor Advisory Board and vice president of U.S. operations for Merck Animal Health. Merck is one of eight animal health giants with operations in the corridor. The others, all in the world top 10, are Zoetis Inc., Merial Ltd., Elanco Animal Health, Bayer Animal Health, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc., Ceva Animal Health and Idexx Laboratories.
Local animal health companies in the Corridor have access to networking opportunities, access to specialized training and education, opportunities for research collaboration, legislative advocacy, and tax and incentive programs, as well as the advantage of being surrounded by other businesses doing similar work. For those companies already in the KC area, the Animal Health Corridor is a resource for growth and collaboration. For those outside the Kansas City area that are thinking of relocating, the Corridor makes Kansas City an obvious choice for business.