The trū Shrimp Co. broke ground Sept. 19 in Balaton, Minn., on a multimillion-dollar employee training center.
Taking part were (from left in photo above) Robert Gervais, trū Shrimp operations manager; Brian Gjerde, ISG principal and managing partner; Brian Knochenmus, Ralco president and trū Shrimp board chairman; Jon Knochenmus, Ralco president emeritus; Michael Ziebell, trū Shrimp president; Tim Kippenhan, Miron Construction vice president and chief operating officer; and Kasey Holm, Heartland Mechanical Inc.
Company officials said the Balaton Bay Reef Training and Engineering Center will train employees for careers at larger shrimp production "harbors" to be built in southwest Minnesota. The 40-foot-tall center will house a reef of eight 150-foot-long stacked tidal basins that create a natural current for shrimp. The company says the bio-secure facility is the only of its kind in the world and will produce 65,000 pounds of shrimp annually.
Construction of the center is adjacent to the trū Shrimp Innovation Center and Laboratory, which has been in use for more than two years. Brian Knochenmus, trū Shrimp Co. board chairman and Ralco owner, said the Balaton Bay Reef is a historic step forward for shrimp aquaculture.
“I am truly humbled when I think of the work that will be done here by people who care about providing safe food,” he said at the groundbreaking. “This is a landmark day for the trū Shrimp Co. This is a historic day for Balaton, it’s a historic day for the state of Minnesota and this is an opportunity to change the world.”
The training center is scheduled to open in the early summer of 2018. It will serve as a final engineering check to test trū Shrimp production technology prior to full-scale implementation in a production harbor. A harbor will employ about 70 people, and almost all of them will receive training at Balaton Bay Reef.
Trū Shrimp also plans to break ground soon on a shrimp hatchery and refurbish a USDA-approved processing facility. The company is on track to begin construction of Luverne Bay Harbor, a large shrimp production facility in Luverne, Minn., during spring 2018. The harbor will produce 8.2 million pounds of shrimp when fully operational.
The trū Shrimp Co. is an affiliate of Ralco, a third-generation, family-owned multinational company that supports large segments of the livestock, poultry, aquaculture and crop industries.
Source: trū Shrimp