Looking to change ag rules

Farm Outlook speaker describes work being done at Ralco facility

MARSHALL — Nearly 50 people flocked to Southwest Minnesota State University Wednesday for the 2017 Farm Outlook & Education Seminar, hosted by SMSU and area banks to help ag-related businesses achieve their goals.

Featured speakers included two Iowa attorneys and a marketing analyzer, along with Michael Ziebell, general manger for Ralco Aquaculture based in Lyon County.

Ziebell played a couple of videos showing the work being done at the Balaton Bay Harbor facility that is pioneering the turnkey solution to change the rules of shrimp production. Ziebell said that he was utilizing his extensive experience in the food industry with the Schwan Food Company to develop optimal solutions and hands-on implementation to produce safe and healthy shrimp for a growing world.

“I have been blessed by working with an entrepreneur and see how they look at opportunities,” Ziebell said. “Marvin Schwan asked me, ‘How do we change the rules?'”

That question opened doors for Ziebell at Ralco as well. He said that the U.S. is the largest market for shrimp consumption and that the normal sources were not sustainable. Ziebell and Ralco researched the market and came up with a plan to fill the void.

“Ralco’s strong and natural animal health systems and ag systems were attractive to (a systems patent developer),” he said.

It is thought that is why Ralco was selected to acquire the patent for the tidal basin system they are now using.

“The idea here is we’re doing everything differently, getting away from the pond mentality, including new terminology,” he said.

Ziebell shared charts and graphs depicting the company’s plan to fill the market void while maintaining a sustainable shrimp farm and expand globally.

A survey done in Lyon County shows that the construction of this shrimp production facility in Lyon County would have a $48 million economic impact on the five-county area.

Other details regarding the plan include securing $54 million to build the shrimp farm and a three-year payback of $35 million.

Ziebell said their nearest competitor can output three pounds of shrimp per day per 5 acres per cycle, whereas his data indicates a 44 lb. of shrimp per acre for every turn of the basin. And that the Balaton Bay Harbor can recycle the water it uses so that it will use about the same amount as Worthington uses of its golf course.

Reed Glawe and Kaitlin Pals conducted a workshop explaining to farmers what types of financial entities would work best and gave an overview how each one worked, how much farmers could save their heirs in inheritance taxes and what types of limitations they would face with each type of corporation.

Pals said farmers can give up to $14,000 to individuals per year without anyone incurring income or inheritance taxes. They could also gift larger sums, such as college tuitions directly to the institution without the intended recipient incurring any taxes.

However, Pals said land put in trusts have to be kept up to three years after the death of the first party prior to the heir selling it, and then, the capital gains laws will come into play. Its called a three year claw back.

And land gifts given within three years prior to death can be pulled back into the estate for taxing.

Glawe is an attorney with Gislason & Hunter in New Ulm. He is a rural Iowa native with a growing commercial practice focusing on the areas of corporate, agricultural and real estate law. He also works with clients in the area of estate planning.

Pals is also an attorney with Gislason & Hunter in New Ulm. She is an Iowa native who became an attorney so she could use her strong work ethic, analytical skills and writing ability to help clients resolve problems and create plans to achieve their goals.

Jim Emter, a CEO of Van Ahn and Company, Inc. in Alexandria presented the marketing workshop in the morning. His firm assists producers with risk management techniques. Their goal is to assist commercial operators, producers and end-users to establish sound, detailed marketing plans.

Thomas Newman of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was one of the attendees at the day-long workshop. He said he was particularly interested in the marketing class.

“I’m an ag lender and that was interesting,” he said.