The Caterpillar forest product manufacturing plant in LaGrange, Ga., will benefit from the closure of a similar factory in Minnesota, a company spokesperson confirmed Thursday.
The tree harvester plant in Owatonna, Minn., is scheduled to shut down by March, leaving 100 people out of a job there, the StarTribune in Minnesota reported several days ago.
That work is expected to be shifted to Caterpillar facilities in Georgia and Wisconsin.
“It is true that some of the products that we currently make in our Owatonna, Minn., forestry plant will transition to LaGrange as the plant ramps down in Owatonna.
That will be new products coming in to LaGrange,” Caterpillar spokeswoman Rachel Potts said Thursday via voicemail.
She said the company isn’t prepared to announce how many jobs might be created at the LaGrange facility.
Potts told the StarTribune that 19 Caterpillar engineers will remain in Owatonna to work on projects related to logging, mining and construction.
Caterpillar, best known for its bright yellow construction equipment, opened its forestry machine assembly operation in LaGrange in 1997.
In 2005, it announced a consolidation to move work from an Illinois plant to LaGrange, with 60 on the payroll at that time and plans to quickly double that.
It was making wheel skidders and track feller bunchers then. Potts did not say Thursday how many employees the LaGrange operation has now.