Southeastern Minnesota boasts strong agricultural assets and an historic competitiveness in value-added food production. This target sector encompasses the full breadth of the product cycle, and includes companies that transform agricultural crops and livestock into components of value-added products or goods for final consumption. In addition, this target sector includes companies producing equipment and vehicles for use in food processing and manufacturing, as well as businesses that facilitate the movement of raw materials and finished products.
The Food Processing target sector has had positive employment growth trends over the last several years in Southeastern Minnesota, compared to a downward trend nationally. Over the decade spanning 2002 to 2012, Southeastern Minnesota increased jobs in this target sector by approximately 20%, compared with an employment decline of 0.8 nationally. These positive growth trends reflect our region’s strength in this area, and point to positive future growth potential.
Strategies for driving growth in this target sector include existing business retention and expansion, marketing/attraction, small business development activities, and facilitating purchasing opportunities between food processing companies and other regional employers.