It doesn’t take a degree in economics to conclude that the local economy has been sluggish, perhaps even stagnant, in recent months. If you agree, you might be cheered to know that elements of that economy are looking at some significant developments in the near future that will affect not only their individual enterprises, but ultimately all of Hillsboro and Marion County.
At the June membership luncheon of the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce last week, a panel of four local speakers addressed about 35 attenders about the impact industry and education can have on this community.
Brent Barkman, representing Golden Heritage Foods (formerly Barkman Honey), reported that this growing company packed 42 million pounds of honey last year and is projecting to produce about 52 million pounds this year. To accomplish that, the company is looking to start a second shift-which will require more employees.
In a similar vein, Charlie Knight, general manager at Hillsboro Industries, talked about that company’s recent expansion into the former F&R Metals building in the industrial park, where they are increasing production of their Endura line of aluminum trailers. These impressive trailers are built not so much for livestock, but for such high-end enterprises as transporting classic cars and traveling the rodeo circuit. Like Golden Heritage Foods, Knight also foresees the company adding a second shift to take care of this new market.
On the education front, USD 410 Superintendent Gordon Mohn said locals schools reflect their communities. If a community grows, so does the school. Even as it is now, 60 percent of the local system’s annual budget of $5 million goes toward staff compensation.
Tabor College, represented by Kirby Fadenrecht, the school’s vice president for business and finance, reported that plans are in motion to build a new dormitory to replace the aging men’s quad south of D Street. The net gain will be 40 beds, helping the school toward its enrollment goal of 600 students on the Hillsboro campus.
These are pretty exciting developments on the home front. Reliable sources indicate that more good news is in the works, though it is premature to announce anything.
We hope this positive economic momentum continues to build in Hillsboro and throughout Marion County. Even in small ways, by our attitudes and actions, each of us contributes to its rise or fall. -DR