WINONA, Minn., June 17, 2015 – Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) recently approved a business loan to Chicago-based Beneficial Reuse Management (BRM) to open Gypsoil Pelletized Products, LLC. The Gypsoil fertilizer plant is scheduled to open this fall in Winona and projected to create 20 jobs. MB Financial, Minnesota Investment Fund/Port Authority of Winona, Minnesota Initiative Voucher Program, and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) are also partnering on this loan.
BRM, the parent company for Gypsoil, has created a successful business model of diverting several million tons of industrial byproducts from landfills to beneficial reuse in products such as fertilizer. By working with the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD), BRM created a gypsum pellet for agricultural fertilization by recycling gypsum captured as a byproduct from coal-fired power plants, where it’s used to clean smokestack exhaust.
Steve Musser is the Director of Gypsoil Pelletized Products and will oversee the Winona plant. “Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation understood both our business model and the resources we'd need to make this project a reality,” said Musser. “Winona is in the heart of our target market of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. The Gypsoil pellet product we manufacture at this plant will be a very economical and convenient source of sulfur for farmers in this area. We hope to open other facilities in the near future.”
While gypsum is common in materials like drywall, it is less known for its fertilizer properties. However, it is growing in popularity among farmers, who use is to improve soil health and increase their yields. It is a good source of sulfur and calcium and can be used by corn, soybean, alfalfa, cotton and other crop growers. There are other producers of gypsum pellets, but UMD helped Gypsoil develop a process for making a denser pellet with handling and blending characteristics comparable to the fertilizers Minnesota farmers use each year.
“Gypsoil is seemingly a perfect fit for the City of Winona,” said Myron White, Development Coordinator for the City of Winona Port Authority. “They will renovate an underutilized property in the community, as well as pay living wages. An added bonus for both Gypsoil and Winona will be the use of Mississippi River and Winona’s barge facilities to access their raw materials. Without our partnership with SMIF and DEED, Gypsoil would likely be finalizing a project in Iowa.”
“This loan is a great example of how SMIF loans can fill a financing gap. On a project this large, we are happy to partner with traditional lenders to invest capital to get the project across the finish line,” said Tim Penny, SMIF President and CEO. “The Gypsoil Pelletized Products manufacturing plant will be a boon to our region, as it creates high-quality jobs, brings in an innovative bio-agriculture business, and may help attract similar businesses down the road.”
For more information, visit Gypsoil’s website, www.gypsoil.com.
SMIF provides a range of finance and management assistance services to start and grow businesses. To learn more, contact Diane Lewis at 507-455-3215 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.smifoundation.org. SMIF is an equal opportunity lender.