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Forum Communications Co., Published January 12 2011

Ground broken for $168 million canola plant

HALLOCK, Minn. — Ground has been broken for a $168 million canola plant in northwestern Minnesota that's expected to generate up to 250 construction jobs through 2012.

Gov. Mark Dayton and U.S. Sen. Al Franken joined Northstar Agri Industries executives in Kittson County Tuesday to mark the start of construction. The canola seed crushing and processing plant is located between Hallock and Kennedy, along Highway 75.

The facility is expected to create about 50 permanent jobs with an estimated annual payroll of $3.5 million. Northstar Agri Industries president Neil Juhnke says farmers in northwestern Minnesota and northeastern North Dakota have exported up to 350,000 tons of canola each year for processing in Canada. Juhnke says now the canola can be kept "on this side of the border."