Bergen Meats receives loan to assist with wastewater treatment system
Federated Rural Electric offers revolving loan fund assistance.
BERGEN — Federated Rural Electric in Jackson assisted Bergen Meat Processors with a $60,461 Revolving Loan Fund check. Bergen Meats is upgrading its wastewater treatment system adding tanks, pumps and an aerobic treatment system to treat the wastewater from slaughter and processing operations.
Federated and Bergen Meats signed the 10-year loan paperwork on April 25. As funds are repaid to Federated, they can be loaned to other organizations.
Bergen Meat Processors, southeast of Windom, operates a custom-slaughtering business that processes beef, hogs and sheep. It is owned and operated by Jay and Paulette Scott, along with their son Bo.
“We have operated Bergen Meats since 1979,” Jay said. “We process around 500 animals per year, plus sell retail smoked meats and sausage, specialty meats, beef, pork, chicken and fish, along with cheese and seasonings.”
Over the years Jay has cured national-award winning hams and summer sausage, plus tri-state awards on polish sausage, brats, ring bologna, skin-on wieners, bacon and dried beef. Bo entered the last convention and won second on his smoked pork loin. They make a wide range of sausage, snack sticks and jerky for custom and retail.
“This economic development funding helps us finance a new waste treatment system,” Paulette stated. “We needed to replace a tank for the slaughter room and found out we could not do that without upgrading our current system or haul our waste from slaughter to another treatment system. Our old system was 17 years old — a lot of regulations have changed since it was designed.
“Our new system will use new technology and produce cleaner waste water than the previous system,” she added. “This will allow us to continue to serve our customers plus allow us room for expansion in the future. It’s important that our local livestock producers have the ability to process animals not only for themselves, but others who are interested in purchasing locally-raised animals.”
“Federated initially applied for the zero-interest loan and then charges up to 1% handling to the organizations,” stated Scott Reimer, Federated’s general manager. “As these organizations pay back their loans, this money goes into a revolving loan fund to assist other organizations for economic development or community facilities.” The recipient also pays for the loan’s closing costs and 1% interest.
Since 1992, Federated has provided economic development dollars totaling $4.463 million. This contributed to keeping 1,168 jobs and securing 642 jobs in the area. Its revolving loan started in 2009 with a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for $244,000 that financed a Ceylon fire truck and Tenhassen Township Hall. Then in 2016 Federated secured additional USDA revolving loan funds and added a matching 20%, totaling $421,515, toward new Heron Lake and Round Lake fire trucks. Since then Okabena has used the revolving loan funds for its fire department brush fire truck, payloader and shop building.
Last year, Federated also assisted the Fox Lake Conservation League to buy the former Alliant power plant land to create a park and the Round Lake Winery upgrade to its septic system.
Over the past four years, USDA Rural Development has invested nearly $2.9 million in REDLG funding to support community facilities and small business development and expansion in rural communities throughout Minnesota. Rural Development also invests in housing, water and wastewater treatment, community facilities, renewable energy and broadband.
For more information on USDA Rural Development programs, visit rd.usda.gov/mn.
Federated is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative serving 6,800 members in Jackson and Martin counties.