CASHTON — State officials awarded $1.4 million to the village of Cashton on Thursday for road upgrades near Organic Valley’s growing national distribution center.

The sizable state transportation grant was announced at Organic Valley’s campus here by company representatives, Wisconsin transportation and agriculture officials and Gov. Scott Walker.

The already bustling site could get even busier in a couple years when Organic Valley finishes a new office building for up to 400

employees. Improvements to Hwy. 27 and roads near the site will improve safety and allow for increased traffic, company executives say.

“We have a distribution center here that serves the whole nation,” Organic Valley CEO George Siemon said.

The road work will help Organic Valley retain about 138 jobs and create about 200 new jobs, according to the Department of Transportation.

Grants from the Transportation Economic Assistance program typically don’t exceed $1 million, but the award to Cashton is bigger because of the potential for job creation, said Mark Gottlieb, Wisconsin’s transportation secretary.

“We have a formula basically that ties the size of the grant we can give to the amount of jobs that are being created and retained,” Gottlieb said.

The grant is a hopeful sign for Organic Valley’s future, after the company suffered a major fire in May at its La Farge headquarters, Walker said.

“We’re proud that they’re here in the state of Wisconsin,” Walker said.

Road work planned for the Cashton site includes:

  • Rebuilding the intersection of Hwy. 27 and Organic Drive to add right and left turn lanes, and new driving lanes to improve safety, according to a TEA report. The new intersection will also include eight-foot shoulders to improve safety for Amish buggies.
  • Extending Organic Drive for 2,900 feet to better serve the distribution center and the company’s Cashton offices.
  • Rebuilding 2,500 feet of Eagle Drive as a second option for drivers entering or leaving Organic Valley.
  • Wider shoulders on Organic and Eagle drives for bicyclists, and a “shared use path” for pedestrians and bicyclists.

“It’s a sizable project,” Walker said. “But, as you can imagine, with this kind of growth and the size of this operation here it was one that made sense for the state.”

State funding will cover about half of the overall cost for the upgrades, said Louise Hemstead, chief operating officer for Organic Valley.

Work finished in July on a 35,000-square-foot addition to the distribution center. The new office building, slated to finish “probably 2016,” will be 40,000 square feet, Hemstead said. About 350 trucks run through the Cashton site each week, shipping about 330,000 cases of product.

“This is our main distribution point,” Hemstead said. “This is our hub.”

The improved roadways will allow the company to expand and support more traffic in and out of its distribution center, but “it’s really about safety,” Siemon said.

(24) comments

Letitsnow
Letitsnow

There are people on hear that will knock anything that walker had anything to do with, good or bad it doesn't make any different. If it was their guy they would be singing praise for the same thing. It's just that simple. It's called a closed mind.

Even though, I am no fan of Walker, he is doing the right thing by awarding this grant to fix what are potential traffic problems that benefit a successful company that employes hundreds of workers who pay taxes to support the state and local governments as well as other local businesses etc etc etc. To fault the company for having a business location is just wrong....this is where the raw materials are for the business, correct? I see Organic Valley products all over the US including Hawaii where I am now. We need to support businesses that support people...and that is what I see here.

Napoleon
Napoleon

DanielJ: "We need to support businesses that support people...and that is what I see here."

Very dangerous. Very proto-totalitarian. At some point, business and government will merge into one. Where are the checks and balances on such mighty power? Your company and your government will be as one: your boss will have absolute control over you. As has occurred in fascist and communist countries:

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini, Fascist Dictator

EZ Reader
EZ Reader

"Your company and your government will be as one"

Like a public union?

"The fist is the synthesis of our movement." Benito Mussolini, Fascist Dictator

lookout
lookout

In six months ask them where this 1.4 mil. went to. They still won't tell us where all the other millions of dollars went. No one can be that stupid, to not know who they gave that money to. The money they say they don't know what happened to it, must be a con that went to friends of those in charge. We have to remember Walker was associated with con's, one of them was stealing money from vets. If they can't account for that money, someone needs to be held to account for it. If they refuse to find it, someone needs to go to jail.

Napoleon
Napoleon

Re: "$1.4 million state transportation grant to help Organic Valley expand, add jobs"

Correction: $1.4 million in corporate welfare to help Scott Walker buy votes. On my dime.

More GOP 47-percenters living on the dole! Lazy Republicans, git off yer butt an' git a job! Stop livin' off uv korperate welfare!

you think you know
you think you know

Again, are you implying that a bunch of Organic farmers are the typical Walker supporter? Are the 40% or so of their co-op owner/members that are Amish also being bought by Walker?

You're against 'your dime' being spent to grow business that offers jobs to almost 1,000 people in rural communities, but you're ok with 'your dime' being used to give people free cell phones, free housing, free child care, free condoms and birth control, free food, free to deeply subsidezed health care, free college tuition....?

Napoleon
Napoleon

ytyk: "You're against 'your dime' being spent to grow business that offers jobs to almost 1,000 people in rural communities, but you're ok with 'your dime' being used to give people free cell phones, free housing, free child care, free condoms and birth control, free food, free to deeply subsidezed health care, free college tuition....?"

Exactly right. I'm happy to share my wealth with people in need, but I don't want to subsidize somebody else's big business. It's a philosophical issue with me: I consider corporate welfare to be a form of creeping fascism. I'm okay with limited Scandinavian-style social democracy. At heart, I'm a staunch anti-fascist.

Corporate welfare is the merger of state and corporate power... that's a very dangerous thing, a very fascist thing. That idea is behind half of all my posts on this site:

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini, Fascist Dictator

Napoleon
Napoleon

...ctd:

I should add that social democracy has its risks too: it can turn into creeping communism or go right-wing into creeping fascism. I would confine social democracy to helping the middle class, poor or near-poor. I would cap all taxes at thirty percent: all local, state, federal taxes combined should not exceed thirty percent of an individual's income. Social democratic states are big on corporate welfare too: I'd cut that out entirely. Limited social democracy with strong libertarian checks and balances is how I'd work things. Right now, America is a corporate oligarchy falling into total despotism. My taxes for rich people's corporate needs, that's despotic!

you think you know
you think you know

If you don't think a persons combined taxes should be over 30% of their income how can you be an Obama, or any democrat supporter who just pushed to raise the top earners to near 40% just in Federal tax!? Sure they're rich, but you said for everybody...

I get you on the corporate welfare, but I don't think this is it! This is not a TIF, or a grant, or gift, this is the expansion of a PUBLIC road. Yes, it will greatly help OV in the future, but it remains public. This isn't some cronie getting a handout of cash to 'expirement' on new technology. That, like you, I don't agree with.

I am lower middle class, maybe even upper lower class...and I am being hurt by the ACA because my premiums are going up as a direct result. In a printed letter from my company, our insurance rates are going up to 'qualify' for ACA standards. I'm single, I don't need maternity coverage. Why should I now be forced to have it? Social Democracy is ok in your mind, and that's fine, but it hurts me.

Napoleon
Napoleon

ytyk: "If you don't think a persons combined taxes should be over 30% of their income how can you be an Obama, or any democrat supporter who just pushed to raise the top earners to near 40% just in Federal tax!? Sure they're rich, but you said for everybody"

Correct. And if all the rich paid their fair share, and didn't dodge their obligations (the Caymans!), even the rich would benefit. A 40% tax rate is unfair even if you're rich. I don't want to bash the rich, I just want the rich to act like responsible citizens, like leaders.

In La Crosse, more than half of all property is tax-exempt. Most of these exempted properties are owned by the well-to-do, not the poor (the poor pay taxes, don't get exemptions!). More than a trillion dollars in federal taxes owed by profitable U.S. corporations goes unpaid via offshore dodge schemes and arcane federal tax loopholes.. if all who owed paid, you and I would have to pay less:

"We're Not Broke!"

hulu.com/watch/442931

RemoteEmployee
RemoteEmployee

Bitter?

EZ Reader
EZ Reader

It amounts to a gov't bailout of a company too short-sighted to build their NATIONAL DISTRIBUTION CENTER near adequate infrastructure. When will we quit rewarding poor decision-making by individuals and businesses?

DOL
DOL

EZ Reader. Why don't you tell that to Obama. Every company his administration gives a huge multi million gov't handout goes bankrupt a year later (Solyndra) come to mind for you there's a list of others if you care to look. This company is adding jobs and everyone who lives in this area gets to use the road improvements.

EZ Reader
EZ Reader

No argument from me that other levels of gov't shouldn't help pick market winners and losers either, DOL. And, as far as gov't handouts go, I also agree that this one at least has additional potential benefits to the community. Still ... if the state hadn't taxed that money in the first place, Organic Valley and the citizens of Cashton wouldn't have to go begging to DOT to get it back! As it is, the department gets undue influence by picking political favorites around the state to assist, at the expense of less-favored people and companies.

you think you know
you think you know

Are you implying that the typical Organic farmer and a bunch of 'hippies' as somebody reffered to them as are the typical Walker supporter?

I dont think the DOT picked OV for their political support, just a guess.

Asiseeit
Asiseeit

wonder who will get campaign donations for this, crooks

shameless
shameless

Where's the outrage from Luce and his ilk that the government is giving away our money!

lutefisk
lutefisk

Hippie capitolists

Tim Russell
Tim Russell

"The improved roadways will allow the company to expand and support more traffic in and out of its distribution center."

But the Republicans will still claim that OV built their business "on their own" & that "government has nothing to do with their success".

Letitsnow
Letitsnow

So Tim is falling for the old Obama you didn't build your business someone else did that for you thing. What a sucker.

you think you know
you think you know

Valid argument, they will benefit from this as a company. But this is what government does, it builds infrastructure. It's not like the state is paying to repave their parking lot or help build the new office, they are building a public road.

They have also managed to do without this grant for 10 years at that location, and they just celebrated 25 years in business. This $1.4 million does not mean that "they didn't build that".

Tim Russell
Tim Russell

"The improved roadways will allow the company to expand and support more traffic in and out of its distribution center."

DOL
DOL

The company has been in business for over 25 years. The road improvements will allow the business to safely transport it's products. I imagine you would like to see traffic accidents here so you can blame Walker. Everyone in the area will benefit from the improved roads and infrastructure not just this company.

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