American Peat Technology Announces Expansion in Aitkin County

Friday, November 30, 2018

Peggy Wallgran Jones, APT; Brigid Tuck, University of Minnesota Extension; Dave Schaeffer, APT; Tamara Lowney, APEX; Roger Sorben, CFO, APT; Taylor Erickson, Executive Director of the Aitkin Area Chamber of Commerce

 

American Peat Technology (APT), a leading manufacturer of high-value, American-made granular peat products, is expanding operations in northeast Minnesota. APEX has been working closely with the company over the past several years as the prospect of expansion went from concept to reality. 

APEX has connected APT to several potential financing partners, including Great River Energy, the Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. APT is evaluating which options may be best suited to consider for financing operations to add capacity at the company’s current and future locations in Aitkin County. APEX is also exploring ways to leverage APT’s client base for business attraction efforts – many of the company’s customers could benefit from closer proximity to the APT’s products. APEX and APT have discussed plans to mutually approach these key target companies that could also benefit from low-cost infrastructure and location options.

To keep the community and key stakeholders informed of the expansion, the company hosted two events – an Aitkin County Chamber of Commerce luncheon and an open house at the McGrath Fire Hall on Thursday, October 25, 2018. Several partners presented information and hosted tables at the events, including APEX Senior Business Developer, Tamara Lowney. The purpose of the meetings was to engage with the local community and share more details regarding APT’s investment in pioneering the environmental and agricultural applications of peat technology – the P.E.A.T. Project – in McGrath.

“We are very excited to be expanding our operations to McGrath and we are pleased to have so much support from the local community,” said Peggy Jones, VP of Sales and Research at APT. “APEX has been an integral partner in helping us prepare for the introduction of our project.”

High global demand for APT products led the company to pursue a second location in McGrath. The current APT plant location in Aitkin will remain in operation but has reached capacity, necessitating a second location.

Many local elected and community members attended the open house to learn more about the company and discover the opportunities that the P.E.A.T Project in McGrath will bring to the region. “We want communications with the public to remain open,” explained Doug Green, President and CEO of APT. “We know from start to finish, the P.E.A.T. Project in McGrath will help enhance the economy in Aitkin County and the surrounding communities.”

APT has been working carefully with Aitkin County officials to identify the ideal location for a second processing plant and selected a peatland northwest of McGrath for the APT expansion location. The new plant location will allow the company to increase production of their BioAPT product line. 

BioAPT is a microbial carrier product that has become the industry standard for granular peat-based Rhizobia carriers. BioAPT increases crop production of soybeans, peas, peanuts and more by providing important bacteria that assist with nitrogen fixation. 

In addition to the BioAPT products, APT manufactures a water treatment media, also using natural peat. The APTsorb line of products targets contaminants of environmental concern in water and is effective against a wide range of heavy metals. APTsorb has enormous potential to drive innovation and change in water remediation processes.

A recent economic impact study by the University of Minnesota showed that expanding APT’s production capabilities will have a positive impact on the eight-county region. APT anticipates once the construction phase is complete, the P.E.A.T. Project in McGrath will generate significant tax income for the county – an estimated $21.8 million in direct and indirect economic impact across APT’s two locations. 

The P.E.A.T. Project is also positioned to create 114 new job opportunities including:

  • Plant operators
  • Heavy equipment operators
  • Harvest operators
  • Forklift operators
  • Fabricators
  • Maintenance staff
  • Welders
  • Lab technicians
  • Chemists

APT is in the early stages of planning for the expansion and is currently conducting pre-engineering and analysis. The process is expected to take many years before formal construction and operation would begin. 

For more information regarding APT, contact Brian Hanson or Tamara Lowney.

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