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New Vision Co-op breaks ground

BREWSTER -- Members of the New Vision Cooperative board of directors joined officials from the City of Brewster Tuesday morning for a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of what will become a $10-million-plus fertilizer facility on the west edge of town.

The fertilizer plant, once it's finished next spring, will have the capacity to receive 100 car trains of fertilizer, unload 10,000 tons of fertilizer within 15 hours, load out 700 tons per hour and store up to 45,000 tons on site. The computer-controlled terminal and storage area will amount to about 1.5 acres under roof.

"It's going to be a real big building," said New Vision's General Manager Frank McDowell. The facility will employ approximately 30 full- and part-time employees by its fifth year in operation.

McDowell said the new facility will be a great benefit to farmers and agronomy retail businesses in the region. The cooperative serves approximately 1,850 customers.

"An exceptional feature of this fertilizer facility will be the capability to blend up to 500 tons of fertilizer per hour, at a point when timeliness is most critical to our farmers," McDowell said.

Kip Rasmussen, chair of the New Vision Cooperative Board of Directors, said talks had been ongoing for six or seven years about building a fertilizer plant.

"I think it's a project we needed for our agronomy department to be more efficient and to serve our patrons better in both service and price," Rasmussen said.

Six or seven years ago, Rasmussen said there wasn't a big difference in price between rail and truck-shipped fertilizer -- an issue that held the cooperative back.

"Now, it's not so much price, it's having the fertilizer on hand," Rasmussen said. "It would have been nice to have this (plant) two years ago."

McDowell said the facility, once open, will accept delivery of three key fertilizer ingredients -- potash, phosphate and urea -- by rail.

"The facility also has micro fertilizer storage for pel lime, sulfur, zinc, ammonium sulfate and overflow," said Dennis Weber, agronomy department manager for New Vision.

Randy Schmitz, mayor of Brewster, said the addition of the New Vision fertilizer facility will mean additional tax base for the community, which has benefited greatly from the Minnesota Soybean Processors facility that operates on the east side of town. Brewster will provide the water, sewer and electrical utilities to the fertilizer plant, and Schmitz said Second Avenue from Main Street to the property will also be upgraded.

With new job creation, Schmitz said the community is poised for additional housing development. Some lots established when MnSP was under construction are still available for purchase.

Brewster, located along the railroad track and with easy access to a major highway, has benefited from businesses that utilize rail.

"I guess it's location, location, location," Schmitz said. "I'm just happy that people want to build here."

Construction on the fertilizer plant was started late because of spring rains, but as McDowell said, these past two weeks have helped crews get caught up. Stueve Construction of Algona, Iowa, is the project's general contractor.

"As soon as the dirt work's finished, we're looking forward to getting in here and building the facility," said Jack Burns, president of Stueve Construction.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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