Written by Tom Steward | January 7, 2019

Shrimp Plant Picks South Dakota Due to MN Red Tape

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard didn’t hold anything back in one of his last official acts in office when it came to his neighbor to the east.  Daugaard announced that South Dakota had beat out Minnesota after all for a new Tru Shrimp agricultural production facility the Star Tribune had reported would be built on the other side of the border in Luverne.

It’s already generating revenue for Luverne. More than 30 employees from places like Hawaii, India and the fisheries division of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are spending some of their paychecks in town.

But at the last minute Minnesota lost out due to a familiar self-inflicted injury–regulatory red tape. The Sioux Falls Argus picks up the play by play of Daugaard’s come from behind victory lap.

South Dakota first met with Tru Shrimp leaders in 2015, Daugaard said.

The governor emphasized his excitement for the project, crediting South Dakota’s laws for the victory.

“Our low tax, low cost, reasonable regulatory environment,” Daugaard said. “If you don’t think those things make a difference, then ask anybody at Tru Shrimp about the regulatory process in South Dakota and why we’re a good place to do business. And they’ll tell you.”

Readers may recall when American Experiment called out Tru Shrimp for lobbying Minnesota legislators to subsidize the well-capitalized venture owned by Marshall-based Ralco Nutrition in southwestern Minnesota.

Shrimp for 69 cents a pound anyone? That would be quite a bargain for sea food lovers. But not so much for taxpayers. Yet that’s how much some legislators want Minnesotans to pay in order to get shrimp farming off the ground in the state—69 cents a pound.

Tru Shrimp went forward without the production subsidy on its plans to revolutionize the shrimp industry in the heart of the Midwest from offices in Balaton, Minnesota. But apparently Minnesota’s regulatory heavy hand got in the way of building its first big production facility as planned in Luverne.

“Luverne, Minnesota was previously identified as the site for Tru Shrimp’s first Harbor,” the release said. “However, there are open items related to the Luverne site that need to be addressed before Tru Shrimp can proceed.”

CEO Michael Ziebell said his company picked Madison for a few reasons, including access to the Lewis and Clark Reservoir and the available workforce in the region.

Moving the first Tru Shrimp Harbor to Madison also allowed the company to keep with its anticipated timeline of starting construction in the summer, Ziebell said. The company was facing regulatory hurdles in opening its Luverne facility.

Daugaard admits a state-subsidized $6.5 million loan played a part in luring Tru Shrimp across the state line to South Dakota. But only after Minnesota regulators re-opened the door to the competition.

Tom Steward

Tom Steward is a Government Accountability Reporter at Center of the American Experiment.
[email protected]

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