LS Beef groundbreaking

LimeSprings Beef Board Board members include directors Eugene Herman, Steve Eastman, Darrin Ludwig (vice-president), Todd Prichard (secretary and lawyer), Vanette Grover (treasurer), Michael Kimble and Jesse Stevens (president). Not pictured: Jim Loquai.

LimeSprings Beef Board
Board members include directors Eugene Herman, Steve Eastman, Darrin Ludwig (vice-president), Todd Prichard (secretary and lawyer), Vanette Grover (treasurer), Michael Kimble and Jesse Stevens (president). Not pictured: Jim Loquai.

By Marcie Klomp

Such a small thing, really. Putting a shovel to the ground, pushing it in and pulling up some black Iowa dirt.

Such a small thing, and yet, such a big thing!

It signifies the start of a new building project and that digging of dirt is exactly what happened at the groundbreaking ceremony held for LimeSprings Beef on Aug. 27. 2013.

Despite hot temperatures, over 150 dignitaries and friends from the local community, the county, the region and the state were on hand to watch that first shovel of dirt turned over. Gov. Branstad and LimeSprings Beef President and visionary Jesse Stevens put the spade to the ground at the property on Highway 63 to a round of applause.

Stevens said his story is “about an Iowa farm boy who after a long and rewarding business career was given the opportunity to return home and be part of a project that will turn the plight of a region and possibly the plight of the beef industry.”

Howard County Economic Development Director Jason Passmore has been instrumental in helping Stevens navigate some of the legal and grant-writing avenues involved with a $7 million project that is expected to bring 50 new and quality jobs to the area.

He and Stevens recognized many of the individuals and groups who helped get the project from vision to groundbreaking. They included:

• The LimeSprings Beef Board of directors

• The FFA and other investors

• The Eastman family

• Mayor Git-R-Done Robinson and the Lime Springs City Council

• C US Bank, who led the charge

• Hawkeye REC and USDA Rural Development with loan funds

• NICC was also there at day one and will have a big role in the next chapter

• Upper Explorerland for help with the CDBG grant

• The State of Iowa from the top down

Stevens continued, “Governor Branstad’s entire administration’s support and cooperation was key. They were truly an example of how state governments should work. My primary contact with the administration was through IEDA and Director Durham. Director Debi Durham is truly a ‘Make the Visions Reality’ leader.”

Durham recalled her first experience with LimeSprings Beef. She told the crowd how she was in a meeting when Rep. Josh Byrnes texted ‘We need to talk, NOW!’” They went into the hall and conversed with Stevens. “This path has been one of persistence and faith,” she added. Her hope was for the entire state of Iowa to have an economic buzz from border to border.

In his speech, Branstad acknowledged, “As big a deal as Facebook and Google are in other parts of the state, LimeSprings Beef is a big deal in this area.”

He was pleased to hear how many entities of the state, including DNR and DOT, worked together to get the business to the point of groundbreaking. “We’re all in it together,” he claimed.

Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds also spoke about how everyone works together and that LimeSprings Beef is a great business for Iowa, and northeast Iowa in particular.

Before and after the speeches, water bottles donning the LimeSprings Beef logo were given to those attending. Also, local musician James Lieder performed before the ceremony.

Folks could meander into the former Wild Bill Gunshop building that is now the home office to look at building plans for the plant.

During his speech, Passmore summed up his feelings for Stevens, “He is what economic developers hope walk in their door. Thank you, Jesse, for walking through ours!” The people of Lime Springs, Howard County and Northeast Iowa agree!





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