After eight years of DFL-led bureaucratic governance and repeated ta hikes, the city of  Luverne was shocked, shocked, to find that a company decided to ditch a deal and move their expansion to South Dakota:

With groundbreaking expected this summer at the Luverne site, Tru Shrimp executives said they recently discovered a state environmental rule about water discharge that could delay construction of the facility, which it calls a harbor, by one to three years.

“Our timeline is to build a harbor in 2019,” Michael Ziebell, chief executive of Tru Shrimp, said in an interview Tuesday. With investors’ money on the line, the company couldn’t afford to wait for the discharge issue to be resolved, he said.


The board of the Balaton, Minn.-based firm in November gave final approval for the $45 million facility on 67 acres just outside Luverne. The state of Minnesota had invested nearly $2 million to build roads and utilities to the site and Luverne, a city of about 5,000 residents, invested $600,000 in the effort.

“I’m not going to kid you, it was like a gut shot and we were blindsided by it,” Luverne Mayor Pat Baustian said. “I understand it was a business decision and they’ve got to do what they’ve got to do, but we had no previous interaction with Tru Shrimp that suggested the regulatory issue was going to be a real problem.”

Nobody expects the Minnesota regulatory inquisition!

22 thoughts on “Unexpectedly

  1. Meh, we lost one, we gained one. Those factory-level workers in outstate Minnesota who won’t be working in the shrimp farm, will simply move to St. Paul to become information technology specialists and programmers. Jobs-wise, it’s a wash; therefore, whether taxes and regulations affect business decisions is irrelevant.

  2. And good luck finding enough people to fill those jobs. There are already several well entrenched security firms located in the Twin Cities, all competing for people with the same skills. I doubt they will ever add that many employees.

  3. ^ Its not a preposterous assertion of them, that if their business is going well they plan to add more employees.

    If there aren’t employees to hire FT in quantity, they’ll get contractors…. like everyone else.

  4. John, you’re going to get people to move to a fairly expensive place like St. Paul by offering them a contractor’s job? Seriously?

    If you read the article you linked, what you’re going to see is not that Minnesota’s business climate is so great–though arguably Tim Walz will probably end up better than Mark Dayton ever could be, and Wisconsin has sadly lurched left as well–but rather that Minnesota basically “bought” the company with tax incentives to relocate here. So wherever the workers were to begin with–I’m anticipating the distribution has a radius of about 20 miles and is centered a bit east of Woodbury to begin with–there will be a minor shift in commutes.

    That’s it. And to be fair, you can make about the same point about the shrimp farming company–you had rival state bids for their location, probably far exceeding the value of the enterprise to the community, and they took the one which was richer and had less hassle. No surprises there.

  5. BB – Well, that is my point about the shrimp company. Plus the fact that, its not automatic that they’re not BSing about the reason they went to SD, which was the value of the incentives moreso than the regulatory stuff.

    Software and embedded hardware engineers get paid between $30-80 an hr depending on what it is they are doing. They can afford to live in St. Paul and its suburbs.

  6. Pioneer Press Breaking!

    “Gov. Tim Walz’s first official action: creating a ‘Diversity, Inclusion and Equity’ council”

    LMFAO! 🤣

    Shrimp schmimp. Who needs to work anymore? Big Daddy is serving up brimming bowls of hot, free, Rainbow Stew…dig in.

    I suggest y’all roll a fat blunt and chillax; Big Daddy got your back.

  7. I wonder if Alula would still come here if they were all ready to move and then the state of Minnesota said “Wait for 1-3 years. It’s the law. And you don’t get any tax payer money until then either.”.

    I am thinking “no”.

  8. the St Paul job site will recruit the people it needs from Silicon valley where more and more techies are finding that a 6 figure income means you can only afford to rent a converted garage and you still live like a dog. Mpls/Stp has the same politics they’re used to and a wage/cost structure that allows you to get ahead at $50/hr. They’ll import the people they need.

  9. ^The shrimp article does not assert that anyone at the state said ‘you have to wait 1 to 3 years to build your shrimp harbor’. That they were going to have to wait is the claim of the shrimp company, and they very well could be BSing to diminish the appearance they they whored themselves out for a few extra incentive dollars in SD.

    3M and agribusiness have destroyed the water in MN. Its not obvious we have an overactive PCA here at all.

  10. In truth, I’d guess the explanation for Alulu’s move to St. Paul is their growth dictates a need for professional office space and that it not be off the beaten path like it is in Hudson… though that little industrial park there is flourishing.

  11. John, the mayor of Luverne admits the regulatory issue. It’s real. Moreover, he says they had “no idea” that it would be an issue. Moreover, in the article, state officials admit it exists.

    Conclusion: that issue exists, and part of the issue is that the state was delinquent in getting the issue on the table. Now regulations are bad enough, but this case is an example of not just regulations, but moreover of regulators who are slow to realize the regulations they have.

    That is usually a sign of either a plethora of regulations causing people to not be able to comprehend them (likely), or incompetence among the regulators (also likely).

  12. In the story, the mayor of Luverne does not admit the regulatory issue as first hand, confirmed knowledge, and neither does the state. The regulatory issue is articulated solely by the company, and the mayor and state officials appear somewhat flabbergasted at that claim in response.

    I like commerce and business much better than I like government, but the shrimp guys could very well be BSing, as I say. There is no reason to assume their truthfulness here.

  13. And Alula could be “BSing”. And the reporter could be “BSing”. Why should I assume Tru-Shimp is BSing? Got any information to back that up? Or is this just a hunch?

  14. To quote:

    “but we had no previous interaction with Tru Shrimp that suggested the regulatory issue was going to be a real problem”

    Yes, the mayor knew. Now regarding the state, and I quote:

    “Our staff communicated clearly with Tru Shrimp for an extended period of time, to help facilitate their development plans,” Bishop said. “We recognize the value of economic development across Minnesota and we are committed to economic growth while protecting clean water. ”

    Since the MPCA head mentions clean water, Laura Bishop is also acknowledging that Ziebell is correct, and she moreover repeats the claim that the regulatory process was taking a long time.

    Sorry, John, but when you read between the lines, the simple fact that the MPCA head doesn’t ask for time to look up the issue or outright deny the issue means it’s about 99.9% sure that the shrimp folks are correct. Ill-founded regulations and an eternal regulation state killed this in Luverne.

  15. 3M and agribusiness have destroyed the water in MN.

    This seems exaggerated. Especially for those of us living in MN who drink the water. A definition of “destroyed” with regards to water would be helpful.

  16. No, no, John. The fault is not agribusiness and 3M. The fault is residential homeowners, encroaching into areas already occupied by agribusiness and 3M.

    It’s like moving to the woods and complaining about bear attacks. We’re in their area, we don’t belong, we should pull out and leave them alone. Isn’t that the environmentalist solution?

  17. JDM – I was hyperbolic, granted.

    “Doakes” – I’m not an environmentalist.

    In the east suburbs municipal water sources have to be treated for 3m pollutants. They certainly were not overregulated from uniformly contaminating ground water over say a 400 sq mile area

  18. Regarding agribusiness “destroying the environment”, maybe we ought to place blame where it belongs; on a government that promotes the growing of corn and soybeans with crop subsidies and alternative fuel mandates. The “greening” of lakes here in southern Minnesota with algal blooms and such is really largely the result of growing corn that never would have been grown without government subsidies and mandates.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.