Effects of Del Monte closing ripple through Sleepy Eye

SLEEPY EYE — The announcement Tuesday that Del Monte would shutter its sweet corn and pea canning plant in Sleepy Eye is reverberating throughout the community.

“We had no idea it was coming. It was just a real unpleasant surprise,” said Kurk Kramer, economic development coordinator for the city.

“There’s going to be a big ripple effect. The employees, the farmers contracting thousands of acres to grow for them, the truckers, the silage company that took the waste, the school district, it just goes on and on.”


The California-based company announced the closure will take place in late October, eliminating all 69 full-time jobs and 294 seasonal positions.

Del Monte is also closing its plant in Mendota, Illinois, and selling its facilities in Cambria, Wisconsin, and Crystal City, Texas, consolidating production at its other facilities.

Kramer said Del Monte is one of the top employers in the area. Calendar producer BIC Graphics is the largest employer, with pork companies Chirstensen Farms and Schwartz Farms the other major businesses.

Kramer said things happened so fast there isn’t yet a plan to help employees or figure out how to move forward. He had a conference call Tuesday with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Region Nine Development Commission and the federal EDA.

“We will get together again and develop a plan,” Kramer said.

Continue reading the Free Press article.

Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities honors area leaders

Eagle Lake’s city administrator and the executive director of Region Nine Development Commission were among the Greater Minnesota leaders who received recognition during a July 25 conference in Bemidji.

City Administrator Jennifer Bromeland was presented with the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities’ annual Excellence in Service Award.


The annual award is given by the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization to city leaders who demonstrate knowledge, leadership and active participation in CGMC program.

Bromeland has been active in seeking solutions to the child care shortage in rural communities.

Region Nine’s Nicole Griensewic Mickleson is the recipient of a Friend of the CGMC award, in recognition of her efforts to help advance the coalition’s priorities and her contributions to Greater Minnesota.


For the past two years, Griensewic Mickleson has served as president of the Greater Minnesota Partnership, CGMC’s economic development-focused sister organization.

State Rep. Jeff Brand, of St. Peter, was presented the coalition’s First-Term Legislator of the Year Award.

View the Free Press article.

Region 9, Sleepy Eye awarded grant initiative

SLEEPY EYE, Minn. (KEYC) – Region Nine is awarded a $200,000 grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation.

The grant will be put into a two year project, which will work with two different communities starting with the city of Sleepy Eye.

Representatives say, Sleepy Eye was chosen for reasons including its strong and supportive school district and Economic Development Administration (EDA) along with its diverse population.

“Sleepy Eye is a fantastic community, because of the vibrancy and their changing demographics, but as well as the partnerships like the school district, community education, and especially the EDA at the city level.”

Bukata Hayes from Greater Mankato Growth says this grant allows for site–based efforts to be made, but will rely heavily on the involvement of the community.

“So in Sleepy Eye that’s one of the first things we will do, we’ll ask community member who are a part of this effort. ‘What do you want to see changed?’ ‘How can Sleepy Eye become more equitable?’ The program will be catered to reach that end and so our hope is that as we begin to work in Sleepy Eye is that we see community member of all colors, breeds and races connected,” Hayes said.

Region 9 was one of 10 selected recipients in a pool of 200.

View the KEYC video.

Nicole Griensewic Mickelson receives ‘Friend of the CGMC’ award

Region Nine Development Commission Executive Director Nicole Griensewic Mickelson received the “Friend of the CGMC” Award from the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC) July 25 during the Coalition’s three-day summer conference in Bemidji. The Friend of the CGMC Award recognizes individuals and organizations that have helped advance the interests of Greater Minnesota.

In addition to her role in helping to foster business and job growth in southern Minnesota through Region Nine, for the past two years Griensewic Mickelson has served as president of the Greater Minnesota Partnership (GMNP), the CGMC’s economic development-focused sister organization. She has proven to be a strong and effective leader on many issues that impact Greater Minnesota, including broadband expansion, workforce development and seeking out solutions to the child care crisis.

During the 2019 legislative session, she visited the State Capitol on numerous occasions to meet with legislators and testify at committee hearings on several issues, most notably in support of legislation aimed at obtaining state funding to help provide business training and assistance to child care providers in Greater Minnesota. Her efforts helped secure $1.5 million for child care initiatives this session.

“Nicole is a dedicated and savvy champion for Greater Minnesota economic development,” said Ron Johnson, a member of the Bemidji City Council and president of the CGMC. “She knows the ins and outs of the Legislature and works tremendously hard to garner support for initiatives that aim to bring job growth and economic opportunities to rural communities.”

CGMC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization representing 97 cities outside of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The Coalition educates legislators about issues important to Greater Minnesota.

View the St. Peter Herald article.

July E-Newsletter

Read about upcoming events, funding opportunities, and more in the latest issue of Region Nine’s E-News!

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Rural equity project turns focus to Sleepy Eye

SLEEPY EYE — An initiative aimed at promoting inclusivity in rural communities will expand into Sleepy Eye this year.

The Rural Equity Learning Community — a partnership between nonprofit Region Nine Area Inc., Greater Mankato Diversity Council and the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality — received a $200,000 grant this week from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation of Minnesota for the project.

The groups will work with Sleepy Eye stakeholders for one year before turning the focus to another community the following year.

Corree Stamschror, Region Nine communications specialist, said the expansion adds to the work the group did with five other communities in recent years. Sleepy Eye Public Schools and the city’s economic development administration will help shape the project to its needs this time around.

“The program is designed in a way that Sleepy Eye will choose their initiative and pilot it over the next year,” she said.

Continue reading the FreePress article.


Region Nine Development Commission’s nonprofit Region Nine Area Incorporated was awarded a $200,000 grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation. The grant will help create and nurture more connected, resilient, and inclusive communities where all people have the support and resources to reach their full health potential. It will be used to expand the Rural Equity Learning Community, a learning cohort to share, examine, and explore inclusive best practices to create welcoming communities and strengthen local economies. Sleepy Eye will be the first location of this year’s cohort in partnership with Sleepy Eye Public Schools and Sleepy Eye Economic Development Administration.


-KNUJ Radio

Region Nine Development Commission Awarded Grant

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) -Region Nine Development Commission is awarded a grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation.

The $200,000 grant will be used over the next two years.

Its purpose is to expand the Rural Equity Learning Community, a learning cohort created to share, examine and explore best practices for a welcoming community.

The program is co–facilitated by the Greater Mankato Diversity Council and U of M Extension Center for Community Vitality.

Sleepy Eye is the first location of this year’s cohort partnership with Sleepy Eye Public Schools and Sleepy Eye Economic Development Administration. Next year’s location is to be determined.

View the KEYC video here.


June E-Newsletter

Read about upcoming events, funding opportunities, and more in the latest issue of Region Nine’s E-News!

Read Now

Region Nine Presents at National Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Forum

Region Nine Development Commission (RNDC) presented at the National CEDS Forum that was held June 18-20, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio. The National CEDS Forum is organized by the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) with support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).   


The National CEDS Forum gathered local, regional, and federal partners to share best practices and resources to support effective CEDS. The forum organized as part of the NADO Research Foundation’s Stronger Regions program, was funded through a grant from the EDA.

As part of the first ever forum, Shawn Schloesser, community and business development specialist for RNDC, presented on CEDS in Action and the importance of bringing the right people to the table instead of the usual suspects to create a diverse voice. The forum provided fresh ideas and inspiring examples to guide RNDC’s planning, design, and implementation efforts to make the CEDS process one that is more inclusive, engaging, and supportive of local efforts to foster a resilient and prosperous region. 

The CEDS continues to be an important opportunity to engage with EDA and other federal partners to receive infrastructure and technical assistance grants.  However, it is much more than a static document developed to access certain types of federal funding.  It has real potential to be a road map that brings together many voices from RNDC’s nine-county area to form a common vision for economic prosperity and resilience.

What is the CEDS?

The CEDS is a locally-based, regionally-driven economic development planning process and document.  An effective CEDS allows a region to maximize its economic development potential, as well as engage with the EDA and other federal partners to receive infrastructure and technical assistance grants.

An effective CEDS planning process identifies locally-grown strategies that guide regional economic development, encourage partnerships and collaboration, and improves economic outcomes and overall quality of life in a region.  The resultant document is updated at least every five years and includes:

  • Summary Background
  • Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) Analysis
  • Strategic Direction/Action Plan
  • Evaluation Framework

In addition, the concept of economic resilience is incorporated into the plan to strengthen the ability to avoid, withstand, and recover from events such as economic shifts, natural disasters, and impacts of climate change.