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Published November 28, 2012, 06:50 AM

Breaking ground: VC John Deere expansion project begins

John Deere Corp. management is looking at its Valley City factory as the crossroads of farm equipment and modern technology, according to John May, president of the agriculture and turf division of John Deere.

By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun

VALLEY CITY, N.D. — John Deere Corp. management is looking at its Valley City factory as the crossroads of farm equipment and modern technology, according to John May, president of the agriculture and turf division of John Deere.

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held Tuesday for a $20 million expansion to the company’s factory producing tillage and seeding equipment.

The expanded plant will continue to produce farm tillage equipment and seeding equipment. Some of the seeding equipment features GPS technology allowing farmers to control seed and fertilizer placement.

“Equipment and technology are key to success,” May said. “This equipment is part of the solution to growing more food, fuel and fiber to meet the world’s needs.”

John Deere has operated a factory in Valley City since 1997. Its current facility is 215,000 square feet and employs about 350 people. The planned expansion will add 100,000 square feet of production space and could add between 50 and 100 new jobs. Con struction completion is planned for 2014.

“The growth of this factory is a testament to the community, our quality workforce and North Dakota’s strong business climate,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. “We look forward to continuing to work with Deere & Company to grow the local and statewide economy.”

Dalrymple said North Dakota was the only state to add manufacturing jobs during the past decade.

“This expansion means more good jobs for our people and more good opportunities in the future,” he said.

David Bradford, plant manager, said the expansion means the company has committed to the community.

“We have a responsibility to enrich life in the communities where we work,” Bradford said.

The factory expansion is part of a new industrial park operated by the Valley City-Barnes County Development Corp. announced on Nov. 2.

The park, dubbed the I-94 Regional Development Corridor, comprises 75 acres on the north side of Interstate 94. The area is slated for about $9.5 million in street, water and sewer infrastructure upgrades.

Along with the John Deere Seeding Group expansion, the North Dakota National Guard will use 20 acres for a new maintenance facility and a readiness center. Total cost for the two projects is $30 million with construction occurring between 2015 and 2020.

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at knorman@jamestownsun.com

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