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First trū Shrimp hatchery to be in Luverne

The tru Shrimp Co. announced Wednesday, Nov. 1, it will build its first shrimp hatchery in Luverne, adjacent to the shrimp harbor it announced it would build early this summer. Special to Forum News Service.

BALATON, Minn. — Less than five months after The trū Shrimp Co. announced plans to build its first shrimp harbor in Luverne’s industrial park, the Balaton-based business announced Wednesday, Nov. 1, it now intends to build its first hatchery in Luverne.

The result represents a $100 million investment in the community. The two operations will share a campus, and be known as Luverne Bay Harbor and Luverne Cove Hatchery.

Michael Ziebell, president and CEO of trū Shrimp, said the decision to build the first hatchery in Luverne — instead of its original proposal to build it in Marshall — came after an engineering and process breakthrough that enables the hatchery and the harbor to share the same water treatment facility.

The 60-acre Luverne campus near Interstate 90 will house a 42,000-square-foot hatchery, a free-standing water treatment facility and an enclosed 9-acre Luverne Bay Harbor.

“Every day we are learning and every day we challenge assumptions,” said trū Shrimp board Chairman Brian Knochenmus. “Previously, we could not house the hatchery and harbor near each other because of biosecurity concerns. We care for these shrimp, and the less stress they are under the healthier they remain. This is a big leap forward for efficiency and the welfare of each trū Shrimp.”

Luverne Cove Hatchery will provide for spawning and house larviculture tanks where small post-larvae shrimp grow until they are mature enough to be transferred to a harbor. The hatchery will be able to raise 2 million post-larvae (baby shrimp) annually, which is enough to supply two fully operational harbors and provides future redundancy.

Luverne Cove Hatchery is projected to employ 20 people; the harbor will employ 60.

Luverne Mayor Pat Baustian said he’s ecstatic trū Shrimp chose to locate its first shrimp hatchery in his community.

“When we met with trū Shrimp Systems back when we were designated to get the harbor, we knew we had the industrial park space to accommodate growth for them,” Baustian said. “Going into this, we made it fully aware to trū Shrimp that we are standing by for acceptance of their future growth.”

City officials met with trū Shrimp on Monday, Oct. 30, and learned of the company’s desire to locate its shrimp hatchery in Luverne. With that meeting, the project was fast-tracked, Baustian said.

In fact, crews were at the site Monday to take soil borings to plan for the construction project. Dirt work will begin next spring for construction of the hatchery and wastewater treatment facility, with the harbor also targeted for 2018 construction.

“Next spring will be the tsunami of building in our industrial park,” Baustian said.

In preparation for Luverne Cove Hatchery and Luverne Bay Harbor, the city of Luverne anticipates a busy winter getting contracts lined up for construction of infrastructure in its industrial park and a pair of housing developments to support the new jobs.

“Today, our industrial park is a cornfield and within the next 12 to 18 months, we’ll see about 60 acres going to the hatchery and the harbor, and another 15 acres going for the armory,” said Holly Sammons, director of the Luverne Economic Development Authority. “We’re just glad we have the property to allow for all (of trū Shrimp’s) growth needs now and in the future.”

Sammons said trū Shrimp’s investment in Luverne will help the city get infrastructure built in the industrial park.

“It’s easy to justify it when you have a $100 million investment coming to your community,” she said.