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It’s a done deal

By Staff | Dec 8, 2008

Creighton Nelson has a lot to smile about after the Faribault County Board granted his company a conditional use permit.

The third time is the charm.

Farmers Cooperative Company of Rake, Iowa, finally got the go-ahead for a second anhydrous ammonia plant in Faribault County.

Their first facility was sited north of Elmore with no problem. A second proposed site in Brush Creek Township was turned down twice after it was protested by neighbors to the property.

Now a site just 800 feet away from the one causing all the controversy received a conditional use permit from the Faribault County Commissioners on Tuesday.

Creighton Nelson, regional operations manager for Farmers Cooperative, says the new site will suit the company fine.

“We were submarined a bit on the last one,” he says. “We would have done things differently had we known there were going to be so many problems.”

One of those problems had to do with drainage tiles located under the proposed facility. The new site also has a private tile under it, but landowner Bruce Anderson is not concerned.

“Part of the purchase agreement says the company is responsible to repair the tile if it is ever broken,” Anderson says.” And I feel they will.”

Originally Anderson was not willing to sell land to the company for the plant, but after the first permit was denied, he changed his mind.

“They persuaded me and sweetened the deal,” he says. “Besides, I am a customer, and I want Farmers Cooperative to have an anhydrous plant nearby.”

Anderson says having the agricultural fertilizer plant located at the intersection of County Road 16 and 253 will be a benefit to many county farmers. “The savings in transportation costs will be significant,” he says. “I am happy to see it, and happy it will be close to me.”

Nelson agrees.

“We have a lot of customers in Faribault County, and we will try to serve even more farmers with the new facility,” he says.

Nelson answered a few questions about safety and potential leaks.

“I can’t guarantee there will never be a leak,” he says. “But most of the time any leaks occur out in the field and not at the plant.”

He said regulations require all valves and hoses to be replaced every five years, even though they have a 50 year life span.

He also pointed out that all of the portable tanks are kept in Rake, except for the two months they are used each year. Only the main large tank stays in the facility all year round.

Commissioner Butch Erichsrud spoke for the board when he said he was happy a new site was found which was better suited and more neighbor-friendly.

Early squad purchase

Sheriff Mike Gormley asked the board for permission to purchase two squad cars earlier than projected.

“We have located two 2008 squad cars which we can buy now, and save $4,000 over the 2009 models,” Gormley told the board.

The two vehicles, a Chevy and a Dodge, are budgeted for purchase in 2009.

“We need to buy them now, to get the savings,” Gormley says. The board agreed and authorized the early purchase.

Gormley says the reason for buying a Dodge and a Chevy has to do with the lights and equipment the department has on hand, and what type of vehicle it can fit in.

The two squads will replace Chevy Tahoes, a vehicle type the Sheriff’s Department is getting away from and will no longer use, Gormley says.

The sheriff also reported his office has received 89 applications for the five open positions of jailer/dispatcher.

“We are just starting to sort through the applicants, to determine interviews,” Gormley says.

The department hopes to have the hiring done by January.