By Kristen Miller
COKATO, MN - Since Centra Sota Co-op, moved to Cokato in 2000, there have been a number of improvements made to the site located on Century Avenue and West First Street.
In September, the company will begin construction on its fourth and final phase, for the time being, according to Centra Sota General Manager Jeff Johnson.
Seven years after the property was purchased by Lake Region Co-op of Maple Lake, phase one was completed, which included building a new fertilizer plant with a 7,500-ton capacity. This would hold 6,000 more tons of fertilizer than the former building, according to Johnson.
In 2008, the co-op, that sells fertilizer, chemicals and seed to farmers within a 50-mile radius of Cokato, took down the old fertilizer plant and built a 6,000-square-foot maintenance facility.
This past summer, the third phase of a new office addition has been completed.
The fourth phase, which is expected to be completed by January 2010, will include tearing down the remaining three buildings on the west end of the property. A new 10,000-square-foot warehouse and cold storage facility will be built.
“The new facility will have much more capacity for loading and mixing chemicals and water,” Johnson said.
“This should cut our loading time in half, which allows us to serve our customers even better.”
The Cokato site will also have more than triple the capacity to inventory more supply of product, and this particular facility will also serve as a distribution point for other suppliers in central Minnesota, according to Johnson.
This fourth phase of the project was approved by the Cokato City Council at its Aug. 17 meeting.
“The City of Cokato has been very supportive of all improvements and phases we’ve made and have been a real good partner to work with,” Johnson said.
Centra Sota, based out of Buffalo, has been a farmer-owned cooperative since 1922, focusing primarily on agronomy, according to Johnson.
Centra Sota operates in 13 communities in central Minnesota.
In 2007, three locations Buffalo, Watertown, and Cokato consolidated to Cokato, where all of agronomy and seed business is done, according to Roger Hinricks, operations manager in Cokato.