Kubota Industrial Equipment celebrated the grand opening of its new manufacturing facility with traditional Japanese ceremony Monday morning in Jefferson.
The company invested $73 million into the new facility that will manufacture compact tractor models. The new facility is next door to the existing KIE implements production facility, which produces loaders and backhoes.
In lieu of a traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony, Gov. Nathan Deal, dignitaries and Kubota business executives celebrated with a saké barrel ceremony.
Each person held a small wooden mallet over the top of a ceremonial saké barrel and struck the lid together, breaking it. Traditionally, a toast would follow the breaking of the barrel. No saké was served.
“This is another indication that Georgia is doing something right,” Deal said. “The friendship and cooperative relationship that Georgia and Kubota has had goes back many years. And this is just another illustration of the fact that they have chosen Georgia to be a further manufacturing site for their facility and we are very pleased with that.”
Deal said the state has some of the best incentive packages and tax credits that appeal to international businesses who are looking to come to Georgia or to expand their business.
Acting Consul General of Japan Joji Miyamori said he felt overjoyed to see how well the U.S. and Japan are able to work together to build a better future.
The expansion will create an additional 200 jobs when it becomes fully operational. The implements facility currently employs 500 people.
Kubota has been doing business in Georgia for nearly 40 years and has several operations in the state. More than 1,700 people are currently employed at Kubota facilities in Georgia.
“We are committed to making investments that will enable us to grow our business to meet the strong demand for Kubota tractors here in the U.S.,” Henry Kubota, president of KIE, said. “Our goal is to efficiently deliver quality products that provide value to our customers and with the expanded capabilities that our new plant will deliver, we can achieve that goal today and in the future.”
Kubota said the company’s strong foundation in Georgia has been established by harmonizing best practices from Japan and the U.S. and has been supported by both the state and local governments.
After a Taiko drum performance from the Epcot-based group “Matsuriza,” 250 people toured the 522,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.
The facility will produce the company’s popular L-series model tractors and is able to produce 60 tractors each day during a 7«-hour shift. The plant will produce 22,000 tractors annually.
The facility will also have a chassis assembly line installed in the coming weeks. That line is expected to create 90 jobs.
Jefferson Mayor Jim Joiner recalled several highlights of the city’s relationship with the company since it broke ground on the implements production facility eight years ago.
Joiner thanked the company for bringing “much needed jobs to our community,” saying it was a shot in the arm for the area’s workforce.
Joiner also thanked the company for its efforts at minimizing its environmental impact.
In addition to having a recycling center on the floor of the production line, the facility will recycle 5.4 million gallons of water each year through the Kubota Membrane water purification system. The system is particularly beneficial in the facility’s paint shop.
“We have found that Kubota is an outstanding corporate citizen who will not only improve our economic well-being but is always conscious of our environment,” Joiner said.