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Mikkel Pates, Forum Communications Co., Published December 08 2011

Drain tile plant expands

FARGO – Advanced Drainage Systems Inc of Hilliard, Ohio, is expanding its still-new drainage tile manufacturing plant near Buxton.

The tile-making factory is located in a building along Interstate 29 at Buxton that last March opened as the first manufacturing plant of its type in the Red River Valley.

Ross Johnson, a co-owner of the building, is separately a principle in Agassiz Drainage Tile, a drain tile installation company that occupies part of the plant and is a tile customer of ADS.

Johnson says his company is building a new, separate headquarters next door to the building, which ADS soon will occupy by itself.

Johnson confirmed that ADS is adding at least two manufacturing lines to its existing two lines, which opened in March.

The manufacturing plant initially took up much of the east half of the building and initially was expected to employ 20 to 25 people.

It was set up to serve customers in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Manitoba and Saskatch-ewan. Advanced Drainage Systems officials weren’t available for comment.

At the time, ADS had 22 distribution centers and 51 plants worldwide, including 42 in the United States.

Meanwhile, Johnson’s Agassiz Drainage Systems is staffed with two crews and is considering adding a third in 2012 because of heavy demand.

Johnson says there has been a tile shortage in 2011 as farmers work to offset the effects of wet growing seasons in the past several years.

Many farmers are investing in drainage to add value to land that has increased in value. Johnson says commercial installers often get preference from the company, and he suggested that some farmers who bought their own tile installation equipment may have a hard time obtaining tile in 2012 because of the heavy demand.

ADS is an industry leader in drain tile manufacturing. The company was started in 1966 as Advance Drainage Systems Inc. and introduced corrugated field tile in the United States market in 1966.

The agricultural market was 100 percent converted from clay tile to high-density polyethylene by 1978. The material was lightweight, highly resistant to corrosion and abrasion and could withstand “severe loading conditions,” company officials said.

Meanwhile, other sources say Prinsco Inc., of Willmar, Minn., may be close to disclosing its plans to build a temporary tile manufacturing plant in Moorhead.

Prinsco on Sept. 14 announced that it would build a pipe manufacturing plant in the Fargo-Moorhead area by January. Prinsco had opened a plant in Beresford, S.D., in February.

Mikkel Pates writes for Agweek.