A delegation from eastern Iowa leaves this weekend on a trade mission to Korea. Lowell Junkins, head of the Lee County Economic Development Group, says a facility that’s more than 200-thousand square feet in size has been empty for some time and developers have been working with an investors group of naturalized Korean citizens to take corncobs that are normally discarded and grind them up for animal feed and for growing mushrooms. The investors group in L-A includes citizens who’ve lived in the U-S for three decades and Junkins says they may consider other investment opportunities in Iowa. They plan to take the old building that’s not being used now and hire somewhere between fifty and 150 people in Lee County at a new value-added agricultural business set up by an international team. That team leaves Sunday to visit with people in the feed business, Korea’s department of agriculture, mushroom producers and Korean investors Junkins says might be interested in other ventures with developers in southeastern Iowa. Junkins says this was a project approved by the Iowa Values Fund, about a week before the court “closed the door” on the fund, declaring it void. He says without the state’s involvement this deal probably wouldn’t have come to be. Junkins also adds that if lawmakers don’t re-constitute Iowa Values, “the door could go closed” on the deal. Junkins says “it would just be a sin” if the program isn’t restarted, saying it’s been valuable and was probably the catalyst to making this deal work. Junkins will be accompanied by the mayors of Fort Madison and Keokuk, State Senator Gene Fraise and members of M-C Global out of Los Angeles.
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