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Preston Dairy and Farm Association breaks ground on expansion

By Mitchell Walbridge

Fri, Jun 13th, 2014
Posted in Preston Features

Left to Right: Jim Bakken, City of Preston; Paul Hamann, Preston Dairy and Farm Asssn board member; Lynn Staupe, D&F Board Member; Dean Solberg, D&F Board Member; Cathy Enerson, Preston EDA Director; Charles Aug, Chairman Preston EDA; Nathan Scheevel, Scheevel Engineering LLC; Kurt Reicks, Mayor City of Preston; Dan Christianson, Chairman and CEO F & M Community Bank. Photo by Mitchell Walbridge

Groundbreaking on the Preston Dairy and Farm expansion outside of Preston took place Wednesday, June 11, 2014 with Preston Area Chamber of Commerce members, Preston Mayor Curt Reicks, Preston Chamber of Commerce President Sarah Wangen and EDA Director Cathy Enerson and others present.

The groundbreaking is on a 6.1 acre plot just off of U.S. Highway 52 and State Highway 16 north and west of Preston. The business, which was established in 2004 to serve area farmers with expertise in fertilizers, feed, agricultural chemicals, and custom spraying, needs the expansion of their facilities to keep up with demand. The new location more than doubles the area of its current establishment.

Preston Dairy and Farm has been a large part of the city of Preston’s economic base. In order to keep the connection intact, the Preston City Council on March 31 annexed territory to the city limits that includes more than eight acres just north of Preston, an area that includes the expansion area by the highway 52 and 16 intersection.

The Preston Expansion Grant Application for Business Development Public Infrastructure Program written by EDA Director Cathy Enerson states, “The expansion and annexation will substantially aid the city’s growth, and sustain the city utilities, regional tax base and area employment. Expanding infrastructure provides opportunities for future manufacturing and commerical businesses to continue to grow to the north and west of Preston.”

It was later announced in June that one grant in the amount of $137,000 provided by DEED, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, will help offset 50 percent of the costs to provide infrastructure including sewer, water main, a storm pond, roadway, electricity and more to the new location for the Preston Dairy and Farm Association.

By providing these city services to Preston Dairy and Farm, the city will achieve its goal to focus efforts on maintaining local jobs along with keeping the potential for more opportunities and growth.

The Preston City Council has also created a redevelopment TIF to support the project.

Despite a rough period with the recent economic recession, the agriculture industry has faced challenges of its own. However, Preston Dairy and Farm has seen its feed business growing.

Those at Preston Dairy and Farm say that support from the the community, chamber and F&M Bank has been great. This support has allowed the business to move its project along.

Nate Scheevel, owner/principal of Scheevel Engineering, LLC stated that they began the project about three weeks ago. The hope is to get the fertilizer part of the business up and running by early fall, more than likely by September, with the rest of the operation nearing completion by the end of the year.

“The building permit shows a $1.2 million building project,” says Enerson. “With the additional cost of land and other associated costs, this project is aproximately a $4 million project taht sustains 16 jobs and will add four additional jobs.

Enerson also reports that the city was also awarded a second grant in the amount of $350,000 to support the creation of a new industrial park for two new building projects. “It’s really exciting to be a part of the growth, and assist entrepreneurs and business owners grow their businesses in southeast Minnesota.” Enerson has worked with the City of Preston for six years. During her tenure, she credits a supportive city administrator, Joe Hoffman, and an active EDA board and city council. “The boards are made up of community volunteers that are working diligently for the community,” Enerson stated.

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