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Patrick Springer, Published November 02 2012

John Deere's $20 million expansion in Valley City could add 100 jobs

VALLEY CITY, N.D. – The John Deere manufacturing plant here plans a $20 million expansion expected to add up to 100 jobs in the next five years.

The project, announced Friday, calls for an expansion of 100,000 square feet, with operations expected to begin next fall.

“We would expect to add 50 to 100 jobs within the next five years,” said David Bradford, Deere & Co.’s plant manager in Valley City.

The plant, the city’s largest employer, now employs more than 330 full-time employees. The plant added 65 jobs in the past year. Valley City’s population is about 6,800.

The factory, which makes air seeding and fall tillage equipment for farmers, provides more than $13 million a year in pay and benefits, Bradford said.

The average pay is $21 an hour, he added.

“John Deere’s productivity here in Valley City was an integral part of us being able to expand,” Bradford said.

An economic development leader in Valley City said the expansion project is a vote of confidence in the area’s work force and the state’s business climate.

“They are where they are because of the quality of the people,” said Jennifer Feist, director of development for the Valley City-Barnes County Development Corp.

Also Friday, the North Dakota National Guard announced that it is expanding its presence in Valley City at an area near the John Deere plant.

Last month, Deere & Co. completed an expansion of its Fargo-based John Deere Electronic Solutions, a 90,000-square-foot building that provides space for engineering staff, test labs and power electronics capabilities. It employs more than 1,000 in Fargo.

The National Guard is planning investments of more than $30 million in phases for storage and maintenance facilities in Valley City, Feist said.

The Guard employs 23 in Valley City and with the expanded operations expects the total to grow to 30 or 35, she said.

Both projects are part of a 77-acre development tract in eastern Valley City adjacent to Interstate 94, which provides critical access.

After Deere plant and Guard expansions, roughly 50 acres will be available for other future development, Feist said.

The city is extending utilities and infrastructure to the area, she said.

“We can help with additional growth down the road,” Feist added.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522