The sign is in place and StateLine Cooperative (SLC) can officially stake claim to the land where the future site of their Blue Earth facility will be located.
On Friday, Aug. 16, SLC signed the paperwork to close on the land located along Highway 16 between Blue Earth and Guckeen.
"This will be our first facility in Minnesota and we are excited to be here,"?says Kim Ruby, SLC board president.
Ruby visited the 30-acre site in Jo Daviess township that are the future site of SLC, along with: Elmore SLC board member, Mark Dahl; grain operation, Steve Gangestad; grain origination, Paul Nerem; and location manager, Duane Richter.
Gangestad began meeting with the contractors last week to map out the timeline on this project.
"We hope to break ground within the next week and a half," Gangestad says.
SLC is using as many local subcontractors as possible for this project.
"We want to have dirt moved and all the cement poured before the ground freezes," he adds.
Then, throughout the winter SLC hopes to complete some work on the bins and buildings.
"Our goal is to be completely done and operational by Aug. 1, 2014," Gangestad says.
SLC also plans to help farmers out during the upcoming harvest season.
Nerem has already been working with many of the farmers in the Blue Earth area.
"We will provide off-the-farm trucking," he says. "Then, we utilize our other facilities to fill the gaps until next year when the Blue Earth facility is operational."
By August 2014, it is SLC's plan to have two 700,000 bushel bins, one 350,000 bushel bin and one 170,000 bushel bin for corn or wet corn. These will allow more than 1.8 million bushels of storage for the area.
"This facility will not fill up, we will be hauling corn and soy out in order to be able to service farmers throughout the harvest season," adds Larry Sterk, SLC CEO. "The other locations will support this one."
The Blue Earth location will be a state-of-the-art facility, allowing operation by one person with the use of camera and computer systems.
"It should take less than five minutes to get in and out," Gangestad adds.
Turn lanes and sufficient on-site staging will make the flow of trucks quick and safe.
"There will be enough staging that trucks should never have to line up along the highway," Gangestad says.
Once the first phase of the project is up and running, SLC will gauge the need for the addition of other services.
Eventually they hope to enter into phases 2A and 2B of their project which include: adding 1.2 million bushels of grain storage; a fertilizer plant and office with storage for up to 20,000 tons of dry fertilizer, 10,000 tons of liquid fertilizer; and adding seed and chemical warehouses with blending and load-out facilities.
"We are farmers helping farmers,"?Ruby explains.
The reason for the addition of this facility plays into that motto more than ever.
"We were contacted by farmers here wanting service in the area," he says.
Area farmers received notification in January this year that the local grain elevator would be closed by the end of February.
SLC was contacted and the board members hosted a public meeting to receive some feedback.
"More than 60 farmers attended that meeting,"?Ruby says. "That's when we found this site was worth investing in."
From there, SLC got the ball rolling by visiting the Faribault County Board in May and then went to Planning and Zoning for a conditional use permit in June.
Now they are finally able to begin the construction progress, starting with the addition of a sign, right here in the Blue Earth area.
SLC's main office is located in Burt, Iowa?with facilities in Cylinder, Armstrong, Fenton, Ledyard, Bancroft, Lone Rock, Buffalo Center, Lakota, Ringsted and Swea City.
StateLine employs 130 individuals on a full-time basis and exceeds $260 million in annual sales. Sales include grain, agronomy and feed provided through their 14 locations.
The Blue Earth facility will add two year-round, full-time employees and several part-time employees during harvest season.
"We're glad the farmers contacted us,"?Ruby says. "And, we are glad it worked out for us to come here."