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Expansion Brings More Jobs To Ajinomoto

Governor Phil Bryant (center) helped break ground on a 22 million dollar expansion at Ajinomoto Foods in Oakland last Friday. The expansion will be completed in April and will create 76 new jobs over the next four years. Joining the governor (from left) are James Wilson, General Manager at Ajinomoto in Oakland; Kevin Lake, Director of Operations, Asian Products; Brett Buatti, Executive Vice President of the company; Yalobusha County Board President Cayce Washington and MDA Executive Director Glenn McCullough.

Governor Phil Bryant touted Mississippi’s workforce as he shared the success of businesses across the state. – Photos by David Howell

Ajinomoto HR Director Terry McMinn (right) served treats after the ceremonial ground breaking in Oakland last Friday. McMinn is one of a handful of employees who have worked at the industry since it opened a decade ago.

Governor Phil Bryant praised District 33 Senator Tommy Reynolds’ commitment to make the Oakland plant one of the county’s major employers and a success story that benefits the entire region. Pictured with Reynolds is District 14 Senator Lydia Graves Chassaniol.

By David Howell


OAKLAND – State and local officials joined executives with Ajinomoto Foods North American last Friday to announce a $22 million expansion at the Oakland plant that will include a 60,000 square foot warehouse and the addition of 76 new jobs over four years. 

Governor Phil Byrant announced the expansion, traveling to Oakland last Friday afternoon after a busy week that included the birth of a new grandbaby on Tuesday and a trip to the White House on Thursday.

“I was not going to miss this,” Bryant said, adding that his presentation also marked the 10th speech last week. 

The Governor thanked the leadership of Ajinomoto “for believing and hoping in Yalobusha County and the State of Mississippi.”

The long-anticipated expansion marks the fourth since Windsor Foods started production in 2008, and the second following the 2014 purchase of the plant by Ajinomoto Foods North America, a world-wide leader in manufacturing specialty frozen foods for consumers, commercial restaurants and foodservice operations from nine plants in six state. 

Bryant shared that the new jobs will boost the total number of employees at the Oakland plant to 476, a huge success story following the demise of the beef plant originally constructed on the property. 

“I think Tommy has lived with this longer than any of us,” Bryant added, referring to District 33 Representative Tommy Reynolds, who was one of the proponents of the beef plant over a decade ago and a strong partner in the growth of Ajinomoto.

Following a round of applause for Reynolds, Ajinomoto’s Executive Vice President, Brett Buatti, took the podium and shared that his company had invested tens of millions dollars since purchasing the plant in 2014.

“I am a real believer in manufacturing. I made my career in manufacturing and I believe that manufacturing jobs can really transform a community. I have seen it happen,” Buatti added. 

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