Pet food maker announces $50 million expansion in Fort Smith

FORT SMITH — Mars Petcare announced Wednesday that is investing $50 million to expand its operations in Arkansas with 42 new positions at its pet food plant here.

Construction is under way and production is expected to begin this winter.

“It’s only been four years since Mars Petcare opened this facility in Fort Smith, and it’s already announcing plans to expand,” Gov. Mike Beebe said in a news release. “I spoke then about the strength of Fort Smith’s manufacturing tradition, and this announcement emphasizes that strength and endurance.”

The Mars Petcare Fort Smith facility employs 125 people and manufactures Cesar Canine Cuisine, as well as wet pet food for private label brands.

“We’re extremely pleased to announce this large investment in our Fort Smith plant, bringing even more opportunity and jobs in manufacturing to Arkansas and the Fort Smith area,” Chris Haas, plant manager at Mars Petcare US in Fort Smith, said in a release.

Mars Petcare US is headquartered in Franklin, Tenn., and is part of privately held Mars Inc. The company produces brands such as Pedigree, Cesar Canine Cuisine, Sheba, Whiskas, The Goodlife Recipe and Temptations cat treats. Mars Petcare US employs 2,100 and distributes pet food from 13 manufacturing facilities across the country.