Plans by StateLine Cooperative to build a $9 million state-of-the-art feed manufacturing facility at its Halfa location is great vote of confidence in area agriculture and Emmet County.
In announcing its plans at the Emmet County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, Cherilyn Krichau, feed department manager, and Steve Gangestad, grain operations manager, said the plant would initially add six full-time employees with more to come as the operation expands.
Probably even a bigger impact, though, is the value of the improvements - $9 million. That's going to be a great shot in the arm to Armstrong-Ringsted School District as it starts whole-grade sharing with North Kossuth and Sentral school districts this fall.
The supervisors did the right thing, too, when they agreed to proceed with developing an ordinance to give StateLine a graduated tax abatement over five years. Even with the abatement, the county - and A-R - will get 25 percent of the property taxes generated from the $9 million increase in property values the first year. And it will only get better after that.
This is a wonderful example of how our area ag economy helps support StateLine's expansion - which in turn helps generate money for local government.
Does this indicate the beginning of a reversal - or at least a stabilization - of the rural exodus from Emmet County?
One would think that perhaps it does. More local tax dollars, an improved market for area corn growers, a new manufacturing facility and more jobs are guaranteed.
And that's economic development in its most basic and vital form.