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Forsman Farms expanding to former Rembrandt site in City of Renville

Forsman Farms is investing in a cage-free egg farm on the former Rembrandt site in the City of Renville to hold 1.3 million layers. The new operation will create about 40 jobs. Work will start this year on new barns, but a timeline for completion is not yet established.

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Forsman Farms of Howard Lake, Minnesota, has acquired the former Rembrandt egg-laying facility in Renville (pictured here) and has plans to replace it with new barns for a cage free, egg-laying operation.
Tom Cherveny / West Central Tribune file photo
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RENVILLE — Large-scale egg production is returning to the community of Renville.

Forsman Farms is planning a multi-million dollar expansion of its egg-laying operations on the former Rembrandt Foods property located in the City of Renville's industrial park, which is about one mile east of the city.

Forsman Farms will develop a cage-free farm with 1.3 million egg layers at the site, according to Nate Taylor, director of sustainability and regulatory affairs for Forsman Farms.

Forsman Farms, headquartered in Howard Lake, Minnesota, acquired the Rembrandt Foods site last year. Rembrandt Foods ceased operations at the site in early 2020. It had held up to 2 million egg-laying birds and an egg-processing operation to produce liquid eggs for commercial customers. It had 52 full-time employees when it closed.

Forsman Farms expects to create 40 jobs with the expansion.

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The company plans to develop four new layer barns, a pullet barn, farm packing building, and other support buildings on the site, according to Taylor. The current buildings will be removed.

Eggs will not be processed on the site. They will be transported for processing to Howard Lake. The processing there will involve either grading the eggs to be put in cartons or flats or breaking the eggs for further processing, according to information from the company.

Work on the new facilities is expected to start this year, but no timeline has been established for its completion at this time.

The egg-laying operation at the site originally began in 1994 by a farmer-owned cooperative known as Golden Oval. Rembrandt Foods acquired the site in 2004 and expanded production there. It depopulated the barns in 2015 due to the avian influenza, but restocked the barns in February 2016 and made other improvements when operations resumed.

Rembrandt Foods closed its Renville operations after a downturn in egg prices and a shifting consumer preference to cage-free eggs. Its egg-layers were caged.

In an email, Taylor told the Tribune that the industry is moving to cage-free production. Forsman Farms believes there are opportunities for long-term relationships with retailers, food service and further processors that were not there before.

Taylor said the company is looking forward to working with the people and City of Renville and Renville County. “The community understands agriculture and its importance in feeding America while providing good jobs for the community,” he stated in an email. “It is also a good location with access to feed ingredients while still close enough to our processing plant.”

Along with the new jobs and the economic activity they represent, the company’s presence creates a demand for 1.4 million bushels of corn per year. Its pelletized fertilizer will be sold to local farmers.

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The company will be paying competitive wages, and is optimistic about recruiting the workforce needed, Taylor stated.

Forsman Farms is a four-generation, family-owned company originally started in 1918. Gary and Debbie Forsman expanded the egg-laying operations beginning in 1974, and their sons, Peter and David, currently help oversee the company’s operations.

Forsman Farms provides eggs for markets throughout Minnesota and the United States. They are sold to retail food service and further processors. The company also has the Mae’s Eggs brand.

The Renville City Council will be holding a hearing at 6 p.m. Monday at the council offices on re-issuing a conditional use permit for agricultural production at the site.

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoors reporter for the West Central Tribune.
He has been a reporter with the West Central Tribune since 1993.

Cherveny can be reached via email at tcherveny@wctrib.com or by phone at 320-214-4335.
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