January 25, 2019
About a month ago, I lamented the fact that the Tru Shrimp Co. of Balaton, Minn., was building its first shrimp farm in Luverne, Minn., and not someplace in South Dakota.
Now all that has changed. Tru Shrimp — a spinoff from Ralco — announced that it was going to build in Madison, S.D. instead.
There were “open items” related to the Luverne site that needed to be addressed before Tru Shrimp could proceed with raising capital and building, according to Michael Ziebell, president and CEO of Tru Shrimp. A report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune indicated that the issues were with water discharge permits that would take 1-3 years to sort out.
“It is a matter of timing. Our timeline for capital financing and construction in 2019 does not allow adequate time to resolve the items in Luverne. Locating the first Harbor (Tru Shrimp’s name for its production facility) in Madison not only meets the critical components of our business model, but our timeline as well,” Ziebel said in his statement announcing the movement.
Tru Shrimp is expected to break ground in Madison this summer with the exact timeline pending the completion of permitting and financing.
“We are excited to be working with the city of Madison and the Lake Area Improvement Corporation in bringing safe and sustainable shrimp to the U.S. consumer,” Ziebell said.
South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard welcomed Tru Shrimp to South Dakota.
“The growing aquaculture industry is not only a great fit for Madison, but also a natural fit for our state’s agricultural heritage,” he said in a statement.
“Tru Shrimp is going to be an excellent addition to Madison,” according to a statement from Mike Malone, president of the Lake Area Improvement Corporation. “They are an outstanding company with Midwestern values and an environmental focus. We are excited to bring this opportunity to the region.”
Tru Shrimp’s decision to build in Madison is another notch in South Dakota’s emerging aquaculture industry. Brookings, S.D., is home to Prairie AquaTech, a company that makes fish feed from soybean meal.
It is using new technology developed at South Dakota State University. Prairie AquaTech is building a 30,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Volga, S.D.
It is expected to open this year and will add about 35 employees to Prairie AquaTech's current staff of 30. The company's main office will remain in Brookings.
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