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Minnesota Shocked After Shrimp Company Selects South Dakota
Minnesota Ag Connection - 01/10/2019

Officials in Luverne have been blindsided by a Minnesota company's decision to build its proposed "shrimp harbor" in South Dakota instead, reports Adam Uren writing online in "Bring Me The News."

The tru Shrimp Company, based in Balaton, Minn., reportedly announced plans to build a $50 million shrimp farm in the southwest Minnesota community in February 2017, seeking to capitalize on the growing demand among American consumers for the popular crustacean.

Some of the preliminary work for the site had already been done in Luverne, with more than $2.5 million state and local funding used to prepare infrastructure, but a regulatory holdup with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) delayed construction.

This holdup, tru Shrimp CEO Michael Ziebell said in a statement last week, impacted the company's timeline and financing, prompting its announcement to build its first shrimp harbor in Madison, S.D., instead.

"It is a matter of timing," he said. "Our timeline for capital financing and construction in 2019 does not allow adequate time to resolve the items in Luverne. Locating the first Harbor in Madison not only meets the critical components of our business model, but our timeline as well."

Speaking to the Star Tribune, Luverne Mayor Patrick Baustian described the move as a "gut shot" that "blindsided" his administration.

The newspaper notes that the regulation in question dates back to the '60s and relates to the mineral levels in the water that could be discharged by the shrimp farm operations, which would exceed MPCA standards.

tru Shrimp did not face the same level of regulation in South Dakota.

That said, as the Daily Globe reports, the company has already sunk $800,000 of its own money into the Luverne project, and the hope is that the regulatory snafu can be sorted out so a second shrimp harbor is built in Luverne.

"The City of Luverne stands ready to facilitate the construction of the second tru Shrimp harbor in Luverne in three years," Baustian said in a statement

The initial plans for Luverne would have seen the creation of a facility that could produce 8 million pounds of shrimp a year, with the 60-acre site including a 42,000 square foot hatchery next door to its harbor, Undercurrent News reports.

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