Tru Shrimp to build first hatchery in Luverne instead of Marshall

Plans for a shrimp hatchery in Marshall have changed.

The tru Shrimp Company announced last week that it now plans to build its first hatchery in Luverne, near its first shrimp production facility.

However, tru Shrimp officials also said that doesn’t mean the company won’t expand in Marshall in the future.

“We recognize the investment that Marshall and its economic development leadership has made into the Commerce Park industrial area, and we intend to utilize the area. Marshall is in our plans for future expansion of tru Shrimp,” said tru Shrimp board chairman Brian Knochenmus.

“Based on previous bio-security assumptions, we thought we could not build a hatchery and a Harbor in Marshall,” tru Shrimp President and CEO Michael Ziebell said. “Now we can turn our attention to Marshall becoming home to a future Harbor and hatchery.”

In tru Shrimp’s announcement, Ziebell said changes in development have made it possible to have a shrimp hatchery closer to the “harbor” facilities where shrimp are raised.

“From a bio-security aspect we have been concerned about a hatchery being close to a Harbor,” Ziebell said. “However, in our continuing development we have had an engineering and process breakthrough that enables the hatchery and Harbor to share the same campus.”

A planned 60-acre campus in Luverne will include a 42,000 square-foot hatchery, a water treatment facility, and the Luverne Bay Harbor, the announcement said. Luverne Cove Hatchery will raise shrimp larvae in tanks, until they are mature enough to be transferred to a harbor facility. Tru Shrimp’s announcement said the hatchery will be able to raise 2 million baby shrimp a year. The hatchery facility is projected to employ 20 people.

Tru Shrimp, an affiliate of Ralco, originally announced plans to build its first shrimp hatchery in Marshall, and its first harbor in Luverne. In August, tru Shrimp and the Schwan’s Company announced a partnership that included renovating manufacturing facilities in Marshall to become tru Shrimp’s first processing center.

“Tru Shrimp is going through a lot of exciting changes,” said Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes. Even if the first shrimp hatchery is not built in Marshall, tru Shrimp’s development is bringing growth and expansion to southwest Minnesota, Byrnes said.

“It’s really good for the entire region,” he said. Ralco and tru Shrimp have also made it clear that they intend to continue expansion in the Marshall area, Byrnes said.

Tru Shrimp’s decision to build its first shrimp hatchery in Luverne doesn’t mean the company has no future plans in Marshall, said Ron Prorok. Prorok is the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce’s liaison with tru Shrimp. Prorok said Marshall still has potential for development with tru Shrimp — possibly for the company’s second shrimp hatchery and harbor.

“We were a little disappointed by the decision, but we’re very confident in the company,” Prorok said of the hatchery move. Tru Shrimp needed to do what was best for its business, he said, “And we’re glad it makes the business stronger.”

The announcement of the Luverne shrimp hatchery noted that tru Shrimp and Ralco are still expanding in the Marshall and Balaton areas. Ralco’s executive and support services are based out of office space in Marshall, and tru Shrimp is currently building a multimillion-dollar training and engineering center in Balaton.

Byrnes said the timing of infrastructure and utility projects in Marshall could even make the city better prepared for future tru Shrimp facilities.

The city is currently doing groundwork for the Commerce Park expansion of the Marshall industrial park, which could help make a future shrimp facility possible. Marshall is also planning a project to pre-soften city water, which Byrnes said might also make a difference for future development by tru Shrimp.


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