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Ground broken Wednesday in Mason City for Bushel Boy Farms’ tomato facility


This news story was published on September 11, 2019.
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MASON CITY – Ground was broken today in Mason City for the new Bushel Boy Farms’ tomato facility on the city’s south side.

Minnesota-based Bushel Boy Farms expands its commitment to meeting Midwest demand for local, high-quality fresh produce as it breaks ground on a new 50-acre facility in Mason City, Iowa on Sept. 11. The $35 million investment in the new facility will increase current production by 50% and is expected to bring approximately 50 full-time jobs to the city. Tomatoes will be the initial crop.

The groundbreaking commences phase one of a three-phase project and entails development of a 16.5-acre high-tech greenhouse. The project is scheduled for completion in October of 2020, with the first harvest expected in December of that year.

“The economic potential that this expansion will have on Mason City and greater Iowa is significant,” said Chad Schreck, President and Chief Executive Officer of North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corporation (EDC). “We look forward to continued partnership with Bushel Boy and to the positive impact the expansion will have on our communities.”

The Iowa expansion does not affect Bushel Boy’s continued commitment to its Owatonna, Minnesota operations, as construction is currently underway on a 4.5-acre research and development greenhouse that will both increase production at its flagship facility and increase the variety of tomato offered. The construction phase of the project is set for completion in December 2019 with production starting in early 2020. Once both projects are complete, Bushel Boy will have 48 acres of greenhouse space, with infrastructure in place for 33 more acres. These projects will provide the company an enhanced ability to offer a wide variety of locally grown, premium fresh produce to the upper Midwest.

“These expansions will not only allow us to serve our existing customer base but will provide us the opportunity to seek new business relationships and expand existing partnerships with retailers, wholesalers and food service distributors,” said Steve Irland, President of Bushel Boy Farms. “We are incredibly grateful for the support we have received from the city of Mason City and its government officials, as well as support at the county and state level and with the North Iowa Corridor EDC.”

The new facility marks a period of rapid expansion for Bushel Boy, which was acquired by Shakopee-based Rahr Corporation in November 2018. To learn more about Bushel Boy, visit www.bushelboy.com.

Bushel Boy Farms was founded in Owatonna, Minnesota in 1990 with a simple desire to grow fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes year-round, even in the depth of a Minnesota winter. Known for their red, ripe color and fresh garden flavor, Bushel Boy has been supplying the upper Midwest with tomatoes year-round—long before locally grown was an important consumer buying consideration. Bushel Boy’s expert agriculture team has created the perfect growing environment, combining the latest in greenhouse design and technology with the hands-on TLC it takes to produce the sweetest, juiciest tomatoes. Bushel Boy tomatoes are always picked ripe on the vine, carefully packed and rapidly shipped for maximum freshness and flavor. To learn more, visit www.bushelboy.com.

Photo via North Iowa Corridor EDC social media

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14 Responses to Ground broken Wednesday in Mason City for Bushel Boy Farms’ tomato facility

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    September 15, 2019 at 9:40 am

    What kind of a tax break was bushel boy given? In other words, how long before they have to start paying any taxes? I’m thinking of the Bondurant-farrar school fiasco where facebook doesn’t have to pay taxes for the nest 20 years.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      September 15, 2019 at 9:59 pm

      They received no tax breaks. Their development incentive was in the form of city paid infrastructure. They’ll start paying property taxes as soon as improvement are made to the land.

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    September 13, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    Hopefully they will hire some good working illegals and pay them well. It would beat hiring the local dirt balls that don’t want to work and only detract from the city. I hardly eat out anymore as most of the people working in restaurants gross me out. Not trying to be mean but calling it like it is. You go in there and it doesn’t look like they have bathed in a week nor washed there clothes in a month. Mason city is over flowing with trash and I am not referencing garbage. Until the productive citizen pressure the city council to provide adequate funding to enforce laws on the dirt bags and enforce building and property maintenance, Mason City will suffer the consequences. FYI- I have lived here most of my life and in the process of preparing to relocate so my family can live in a safe community. Mason City population -4 /Clear Lake or Osage population +4

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      September 14, 2019 at 6:14 pm

      Most of the staff at Burger King appear to be on work release.

  3. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    September 13, 2019 at 8:30 am

    First of all, I agree $15/HR. is nothing these days! They should start at $20/HR. It is sad and apalling to read how many racist people still live among us. This company will not hire illegals. Did you people vote for Trump? Our country is divided because of his racist remarks! If you guys think they will hire illegals, You guys should go work there so they don’t take those jobs from the lazy and capable workforce we have here in north Iowa!

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      September 13, 2019 at 10:11 am

      If they pay $20.00 an hour verses $15.00 my guess is the tomatoes would be 25% higher to buy.

  4. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    September 13, 2019 at 6:12 am

    Even if they don’t hire illegals, these $15 an hour jobs will do nothing for the local economy. Well, they will do one thing they’ll increase the dependence upon government programs to help their households survive. Because as sure as I’m sitting here one cannot support a household on $15 an hour.

    in fact know the people who will work at this facility will be able to afford those fancy new apartments that they’re building on the south loop. You know the apartments I’m talking about, the ones that according to the developer will lower rent in Mason City. Yet, the proposed rents are going to be higher than the average rent in Mason City.

    Yet the community leaders will puff out their chests and point point to this as a marquis in their efforts to make Mason City grow.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      September 13, 2019 at 6:43 am

      Completely agree. It is just as bad as building a multi-million dollar skating rink and thinking it will draw more people to the downtown area. Just as bad as building a hotel where there is no reason to go.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        September 13, 2019 at 9:17 am

        The multi purpose arena is essentially costing the city nothing between state money and TIF money. You also seem to be erroneously implying the hotel is a city funded project. It is not, it is private investment

  5. Avatar

    Larrey Loeckle Reply Report comment

    September 12, 2019 at 7:21 pm

    Happy for Mason City

  6. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    September 12, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    How many ILLEGALS are they going to hire????

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      September 14, 2019 at 6:16 pm

      15 for first shift, 12 for second and 10 for third shift.

  7. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    September 12, 2019 at 8:23 am

    How many illegals will they hire???

  8. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    September 11, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    Finally, the editor gives some credit to the author