Manufacturing week in Minnesota wraps up today.

    This week is Minnesota Manufacturing Week, and the Crookston Chamber & Visitors Bureau and Crookston Housing & Economic Development Authority are collaborating to shine a spotlight on Crookston manufacturers, with public tours and articles detailing the latest developments and innovations at those local manufacturers making up the “Crookston Salutes Manufacturers” promotion.

    Since Crookston manufacturers have an almost constant need for skilled workers, organizers of the tours are extending a special invite to CHS and U of M Crookston students, and human resources professionals are being made available during the tours to discuss job and career opportunities.

    Sunflowers and sunflower processing have long been an integral part of the agriculture and manufacturing industries in Crookston. Dahlgren & Company was founded in 1955, and acquired by SunOpta in 2010. SunOpta is a leading global company that sources organic ingredients, develops innovative products for brand owners, and packages healthy and organic food. Their Crookston SunOpta plant manufactures bird food, and processes (roasts) sunflowers, soybeans and chickpeas.

    SunOpta Inc. is a leading global company focused on organic, non-genetically modified ("non-GMO") and specialty foods. They specialize in the sourcing, processing and packaging of organic and non-GMO food products, integrated from seed through packaged products, with a focus on strategic vertically integrated business models. SunOpta's raw materials are sourced from over 60 countries and they have relationships with over 5,000 growers. They add value to the raw materials they source, turning them into a variety of food ingredients for food manufacturers.

    SunOpta's field-to-table approach includes using raw materials and ingredients to produce consumer packaged products for retail and foodservice use. Their consumer packaged products include aseptic and packaged beverages, healthy snacks, roasted grains, flexible pouches and more, with a consistent eye on end products that are of the highest quality and value.

    SunOpta’s Global Ingredients segment combines its North American and international raw material sourcing and supply operating segments focused on the purchase, processing and sale of specialty and organic grains, seeds, fruits, grain- and cocoa-based ingredients, and other commodities used in the natural and organic food industry. Its products include organic fruit- and vegetable-based raw materials and ingredients, sweeteners, cocoa, coffees, ancient grains, nuts, seeds and pulses and other organic food products; identity preserved (IP), non-GMO and organic seeds and grains, including soy, corn and sunflower for food applications.

    The Consumer Products segment provides healthy and organic food products that are consumer-packaged to retailers, foodservice distributors and food manufacturers with a range of branded and private label products. Consumer Products' packaged food products are categorized into three commercial platforms: Healthy Beverages, Healthy Fruit and Healthy Snacks. It offers aseptic beverages, including soy, almond, rice, coconut, sunflower and other non-dairy and alternative beverages, such as organic dairy and nutritional beverages, including milk, broths and teas.

    A key manufacturer in Crookston, and long-time contributor to the local economy, SunOpta in Crookston currently employs approximately 100 personnel, with full-time, part-time and temporary workers. Applications can be found online at www.sunopta.com/careers, or applicants can stop out at their office at 1220 Sunflower Street Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to pick up an application. Multiple openings are currently available, including Class B Boiler Operator, Master or Journeyman Electrician, Roasters, Packagers and Hand Packagers.  Along with competitive wages, SunOpta offers an enticing benefit package including health benefits, 401k with Company match, and tuition reimbursement.