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Pro-Ag plans $1.1 million expansion

Pro-Ag Farmers Cooperative is expanding its operation near Brandon.

There are plans to build two new buildings along County Road 7, near Interstate 94, in Brandon Township.

One building will be an 11,000 square foot fertilizer plant and the other a 14,000 square foot office, warehouse and shop area.

The new project's estimated market value is $1,127,200 and it's expected to wrap up in January of 2012.

Currently, Pro-Ag operates its 2,000-ton fertilizer storage facility on two acres in downtown Brandon.

The expansion to a new, nine-acre site allows Pro-Ag to store 6,000 tons of fertilizer and operate an eight-ton mixer.

The Brandon site's location manager, Tim Bennett, said, "We'll be able to move twice as much product as before and increase the speed we need for moving fertilizer."

Plus, Bennett said, everything to and from their current facility is trucked, so it makes sense to build closer to the interstate.

Bennett said the current Pro-Ag plant will likely be torn down and used by Pro-Ag's grain division for storage.

TIF approved by county

Recently, the Douglas County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved tax increment financing (TIF) for Pro-Ag.

TIF uses the increased property taxes that a new real estate development generates to finance costs of the development. The increased property taxes are used to pay for costs (e.g., land acquisition or site preparation) that the developer would normally pay.

TIFs are used to cause a development or redevelopment that otherwise would not occur, or to finance public infrastructure related to the development.

According to paperwork presented to the county board, the construction of the new facility will preserve six full-time and two part-time employees currently at the existing Brandon fertilizer plant. It is anticipated that one full-time employment and four part-time opportunities will be created within two years of completion of the project.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

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