Let’s use local resources to build local jobs


November 22, 2010 - 12:00 AM

As Iola deals with the loss of Haldex, we should focus on industries tied to agriculture and the Neosho River.

A plant that depended on soybeans, or wheat, or corn, or beef cattle as a primary raw material would be less likely to move once it became established. Food industries depen-dent on production from farms would be more stable than industries dependent upon imported parts and raw materials. The argument makes itself.

There are pharmaceuticals made from plants that could be grown in the rich soil of southeast Kansas, creating high-dollar jobs and high-value crops for the region’s farms. Specialty cheeses can turn milk into a gourmet product that brings in a steady income and requires expert labor, which earns good wages. (Not everyone likes a strong cheese such as Stilton. Those who do will pay $13 a pound for it, or more. And, take note, it doesn’t require 100 pounds of milk to make a pound of Stilton.)

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