Cooperative to construct fertilizer storage, distribution hub in Lancaster

LANCASTER, Wis. — A farm and consumer supply cooperative intends to construct an about-21,000-square-foot dry fertilizer shop in Lancaster.

Premier Cooperative hopes to break ground on a storage and distribution facility in September.

The project is the latest in a spate of business expansions underway in the community of about 3,700, joining Foremost Farms, State Farm Insurance, Hurst Logistics Trucking & Warehousing and Scenic Rivers Energy Cooperative.

“We are seeing a lot of development,” said David Varnam, Lancaster’s mayor and chairman of the city’s Plan Commission, which reviewed a site plan for Premier Cooperative on Monday. “It’s a lot in the community that we can celebrate.”

Rod Redman, operations manager at Premier Cooperative’s Lancaster Ag Center, directed inquiries to company CEO Matt Severson, who could not be reached for comment Monday.

Preliminary designs indicate the building will be located atop two parcels adjacent to the Ag Center at 5371 Commercial Road.

In February, Premier purchased a 1.6-acre lot for $60,000 from Pat Obma, owner of manufacturing company Great River Plastics.

The company intends to purchase a second parcel owned by the City of Lancaster, the sale of which will be finalized in August after it is appraised.

At its tallest point, the shop will stand at about 47 feet, according to designs submitted to the city.

Ten storage bins will be constructed inside, which will contain more than 7,600 tons of fertilizer, including pelletized limestone, potash, ammonium sulfate, pelletized gypsum and urea.

City Administrator David Carlson told the Plan Commission that the city’s assessor estimated the building’s assessed value will be about $1 million, but construction costs will be significantly greater.

The design will be reviewed by the commission again in August before it votes whether to recommend the project to the Common Council.

City officials also are contemplating the creation of a new tax-increment-finance district for road and infrastructure improvements in the area that will encompass the Premier Cooperative fertilizer facility.

Premier Cooperative, based in Mount Horeb, has facilities throughout southwest and south-central Wisconsin, including energy offices in Cobb, Lancaster and Platteville; the Ag Center in Lancaster; agronomy facilities in Bloomington, Fennimore, Hazel Green and Platteville; and a feed manufacturing and grain facility in Mineral Point.

Carlson said the new facility represents a “key” investment in the region’s economy.

“You need farmers. You need people to sell them seed corn. You also need someone to sell them fertilizer,” he said. “That’s good for the manufacturers who use the farmers’ products.”