The tire maker last month announced plans to invest $100 million to expand capacity at the Camso-branded rubber tracks factory in Junction City. That's a major investment and, as it turns out, it's probably an even bigger deal than it appears on the surface.
Because that 139,000-sq.-ft. Junction City facility is nearly new, at least for Michelin. The company invested about $36.4 million several years ago to convert and tailor an existing structure, bringing track production in Junction City online in 2020.
Michelin needed that extra track capacity then.
And it needs it even more now.
"There is a fundamental need to feed a growing population," Bellefleur said. "… We estimate there will be a need for 20-25 percent more food output in the next 10 years, and land is the same as it is going to be.
"We cannot just keep increasing the amount of land that we use to feed this growing population, so all of that growth is going to come from better yield efficiencies, and that is where we come into play," he said.
Camso tracks, because of their ability to better distribute the weight of the huge farming equipment, actually put less pressure on the soil than traditional radial ag tires. Less pressure means less soil compaction, and that means healthier, heartier crops because a less-compacted soil allows plant roots to anchor deeper and water to penetrate the soil more easily.