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Susan (from left), Brad and Meg Freking fill shovels with dirt to celebrate Wednesday's groundbreaking for a New Fashion Pork feed mill in Round Lake, Minn. (Tim Middagh / Forum News Service)

New Fashion Pork breaks ground on $10 million feed mill in Round Lake, Minn.

ROUND LAKE, Minn. — Jackson, Minn.-based New Fashion Pork celebrated the groundbreaking for its new $10 million state-of-the-art feed mill in Round Lake Wednesday afternoon.

Under cloudy skies, NFP’s owner and CEO Brad Freking, along with his wife, Meg, and sister, Susan, gripped shovels and took celebratory scoops of black dirt as they grinned for cameras.

“Susan and I grew up six miles northeast of here, we went to school here,” Brad Freking said. “For us to do a project here, it’s a big deal.”

In addition to job creation — four full-time employees and five truck drivers for single-shift operation — the mill will give area crop farmers another market to sell their grain. On an annual basis, the mill is poised to process about 2.5 million bushels of corn, 13,000 tons of soybean meal and 45,000 tons of dry distillers grains. Annual payroll is estimated at $500,000, and while payment for feedstuffs will fluctuate based on markets, it’s currently estimated at nearly $17 million.

Once in operation, the mill will process approximately 570 tons of feed per day, five days per week.

Weitz Construction, with headquarters in Iowa, is the contractor for the building project.

“Weitz improved upon the design we were looking at last year,” Freking said, adding that it will now be built with concrete instead of steel, and be a long-term investment for New Fashion Pork.

Construction is anticipated to start the week of June 25, with the concrete slip to be poured starting in mid-September. During construction of the slip, crews will work 24 hours a day, seven days a week to build the 155-foot-tall structure.

The 14-month building project is anticipated to be complete by mid-summer 2019.

The mill will be equipped with state-of-the-art automated feed manufacturing systems and a dust collection and dust control system.

Wednesday’s groundbreaking was the culmination of about three years of planning, noted Freking. The work included the purchase of the Crystal Valley grain elevator on Rohrer Street in Round Lake, which will provide NFP with existing infrastructure — including a half-million-bushel grain bin. The mill will be constructed directly east of the grain elevator.

The city of Round Lake and Nobles County spent months vying to have the feed mill built here — it was one of a few locations the family was considering.

Both entities offered tax incentives, with the county authorizing in March to abate $150,000 in taxes — $10,000 each year for 15 years. The city of Round Lake agreed to abate up to $528,000 over a maximum of 15 years, which equates to $35,200 per year, noted Round Lake City Clerk/Treasurer Elaine Walker.

Round Lake Mayor Doug Knuth said the tax abatement will not have a negative impact on the city’s tax revenue stream. He thanked those individuals involved for the smooth process.

“It’s a good group to work with,” he said of New Fashion Pork, Nobles County, Northland Securities and the attorneys who helped make the project a reality for Round Lake.

Feed processed in the Round Lake mill will be trucked to barns within a 90-mile radius, fed only to hogs raised by NFP. The company, established in 1994, now raises approximately 1.92 million pigs a year.

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