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Nobles County authorizes tax abatement for new feed mill

WORTHINGTON — Nobles County commissioners on Tuesday authorized $150,000 in tax abatement for New Fashion Pork LLP to construct a new, $10 million feed mill in Round Lake. The Jackson-based company is also requesting abatement from the city of Round Lake.

The county abatement will be spread over 15 years, with $10,000 in abatement each year.

NFP has two other potential sites — both in Jackson County — identified as alternatives to the Round Lake location.

The Round Lake site is under consideration because of existing infrastructure owned by Crystal Valley Co-op, including a half-million-bushel grain bin. NFP continues to work on a draft purchase agreement with Crystal Valley.

Vince Baack, chief business officer with New Fashion Pork, said if the Round Lake property is chosen, it would be sized to process about 150,000 tons of feed per year — more than double the capacity of NFP’s Nutri-Pro feed mill in Worthington. Baack said that facility is “getting tired.”

“Right now, (the mill) is running at about 70,000 tons a year capacity — about 10,000 more than it should be running,” Baack said.

Baack said constructing the mill in Round Lake is seen as a 50-year asset to the community.

NFP operates three other mills, including two in Iowa and one in Indiana.

Last November, NFP owner Brad Freking said he hoped construction could begin in April, with work completed before the end of the year.

NFP raises 1.92 million pigs a year and employs more than 400 people, noted Baack. The company has been in business since 1994.

Baack said he wanted to publicly thank leaders from Nobles County and the city of Round Lake for their professionalism and helpfulness during the process.

“We very much appreciate any assistance,” he added.

In other action, the board:

  • Adopted a resolution authorizing Nobles County Administrator Tom Johnson and Worthington Director of Economic Development Jason Brisson to prepare an application for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Opportunity Zones Community Development Program.

Brisson said three areas of the county were identified as fund-eligible, including the Oxford Street and downtown areas of Worthington and the towns along the southern tier of Nobles County townships. The primary projects eligible include workforce and affordable housing.

  • Approved a $309,366.55 payment to Brennan Construction for work completed on the Prairie Justice Center garage addition.
  • Authorized the use of a county bond as collateral for a loan of up to $300,000 to remove the existing blacktop and base and build a new concrete road at the fairgrounds, extending north from Stower Drive to in front of Pioneer Village.

Nobles County Fair Board member Ron McCarvel said contributions from the city, school district and organizations who use the fairgrounds will be sought. The board also plans to solicit in-kind donations and volunteers to help bring the total cost of the project down. Estimates are the road will cost between $290,000 and $360,000.

“We want to have other activities — other amenities for people to use in the community,” McCarvel said. “That’s why we think the county, the city and the school district should be involved.”

The grounds are already used by hockey players, figure skaters, the Worthington Police Department and Nobles County Sheriff’s Office, the Minnesota West Law Enforcement program and for special events.

  • Presented the February Excellence in Performance award to Deputy Sheriff Kristi Liepold.
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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