A formal agreement is in place for a new company in Grafton to process Asian Carp harvested from the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers and send them to markets in China, but state assistance for the plant is not yet in place. Businessmen from China were in Grafton on Thursday to meet with local investors to officially announce the plan that could mean nearly 40 new jobs in Grafton once the plant is open.
A representative of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity said the state was supportive of the venture, but no specific details of a state financial plan were released. The Chinese group have entered into an agreement to buy between 30 and 40 million pounds of the fish over the course of a three year contract. American Heartland Fish Products LLC will provide the fish, and will construct a plant along Route 3 in Grafton on property recently annexed and rezoned by the city. Grafton Mayor Tom Thompson says the partners are ready to get started:
No word on when the state might be ready to announce a dollar amount. Investors are reportedly requesting $2 million in state funding through low interest loans or grants. State officials are looking at ways to control and deplete the number of Asian Carp in the Illinois River in an attempt to keep the invasive fish from entering the Great Lakes.