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CFE plans $6 million project at Bigelow

This piece of farmland west of Bigelow has been selected by Cooperative Farmers Elevator as the site for a new 3-million-bushel soybean storage facility. The company hopes to break ground this spring on the estimated $6.5 million project. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — Cooperative Farmers Elevator is planning to invest in its operations in Bigelow with the construction of a new 3-million-bushel soybean storage facility, 30,000-bushel-per-hour grain leg, new dump pit and new offices.

CFE’s Rob Jacobs and Dave Muilenburg appeared before the Nobles County Board of Commissioners Tuesday to talk about the estimated $6 to $6.5 million project and to ask if the county could assist with possible tax abatement.

Jacobs, the company’s chief executive officer, said the project is proposed to be built along Nobles County State Aid Highway 2, just west of Minnesota 60. The company is working with an adjacent landowner to purchase 15.5 acres for the project, and the goal is for the property to be annexed by the city of Bigelow. Power will come from Bigelow, via its power supplier in Sibley, Iowa.

“We have some facilities showing some age at Bigelow that we’re going to replace,” Jacobs said, adding that a couple of bins and a flat storage facility are slated to be taken down.

The 3-million-bushel flat storage building will be constructed with speed in mind — both for farmers and for the company, Jacobs said, noting the facility could “take some heat off” other CFE facilities at Iowa facilities in Ocheyedan, Allendorf and George, as well as Rushmore and other locales.

“It also puts us in a great position to add on in the future,” Jacobs said. “We look forward to being a great addition for our patrons and the people in the community.”

The company isn’t looking for tax increment financing, but would like tax abatement. Jacobs said CFE’s last project in Hartley, Iowa, was a five-year abatement with a 20 percent reduction each year.

“We’re just asking if there’s something to help us on our end,” he said. The company also looked at property across the road, in Iowa, but said, “it just made more sense to be on the Minnesota side.”

Nobles County Administrator Tom Johnson said the county has worked with bond counsel traditionally on commercial abatements, and is willing to work with CFE.

As for the timeline of the project, Jacobs said CFE is in the final stages of site design.

“We hope to break ground, if winter ever ends here, as soon as possible,” Jacobs said. “We’re excited. I think it’s going to be a positive.”

Jacobs was directed to talk with public works regarding the plans for driveways onto CSAH 2, and further discussions will be planned between the county and CFE.

In other business, the board:

  • Presented the February Excellence in Performance award to Kris Ray, Diane Vogt and Lori Walker for dedication to their roles during the election process.
  • Approved payment of $2,707.50 to Roadside Developers Inc. Bisbee Plumbing & Heating for work completed on the installation of the air handler unit at the Nobles County Government Center.
  • Received an invitation from the Southwest Crisis Center to attend a March 29 project kickoff for a two-year project aimed at developing and strengthening the response of law enforcement, prosecution and survivor services to combat sexual violence crimes. The crisis center was awarded a Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women grant for the project.
  • Appointed Bruce Hill to a three-year term on the Joint Planning Commission.
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 The Farm Bleat

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