- Associated Press - Friday, January 17, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Several business expansions and new business startups received state incentives Friday to expand operations and market new products.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority approved loans and tax incentives for projects that Gov. Terry Branstad said shows that Iowa’s job creation program is working.

“Supporting job creation projects is essential to our growth,” he said in a statement.

General Mills Inc. plans a $58 million project to convert 10,000 square feet of warehouse space in Cedar Rapids to a food manufacturing area. The company, based in suburban Minneapolis, was approved Friday for a $200,000 loan, $3.2 million in state tax credits, and $85,000 in Alliant Energy tax rebates. The project would create 41 jobs.

Loffredo Fresh Produce Co. is proposing to build a $7 million food processing facility in Norwalk, creating six new jobs. The Des Moines-based company, which distributes food in seven Midwest states, is building the new facility for fresh-cut produce and perishable food. The board approved the application for up to $401,000 in tax credits.

Carter Lake steel fabricator Owen Industries is proposing a $34 million project to build a new factory adding 16 jobs. The company was awarded a $50,000 loan and $2 million in tax credits.

Hardi North America, which makes agricultural sprayers, plans to spend $2.1 million to build a new manufacturing plant in Davenport and create 24 jobs. And FEH Associates, an architectural and structural engineering company, will create four jobs as it opens a new office in Sioux City in a rented facility. Both companies received tax incentives.

Three new companies also were given funds by the board to help further develop and market products. They include:

- AccuGrain, a Rose Hill company, will get $35,000 to help it commercialize patented grain measuring X-ray technology developed at Iowa State University.

- RAMDO Solutions, a Coralville company, was awarded a $100,000 loan to buy equipment and to help it refine and market computer-aided engineering software developed at the University of Iowa.

- MAKO Enterprises, of Johnston, received a $125,000 loan to help develop and market a tool used for leveling new concrete.



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