A German manufacturer of corn harvesting equipment and other farm tools is opening a $20 million factory in St. Cloud that is expected to provide 100 jobs and give the firm its first presence in North America, state officials said late Monday.

Geringhoff, a 132-year-old company based in Ahlen, Germany, had evaluated 40 prospective U.S. factories before settling on a 110,000-square-foot building in St. Cloud's Airport Industrial Park.

The company has already purchased the former door and lumber plant and expects to start with 100 workers, though it is not clear when.

In exchange, the state of Minnesota will provide Geringhoff with a $500,000 forgivable loan under its Minnesota Investment Fund program and its Job Opportunity Building Zone (JOBZ) tax incentive program.

"We are very proud and very grateful that Geringhoff has chosen Minnesota to launch their U.S. operations," Gov. Mark Dayton said in a statement. "These new jobs are extremely important to St. Cloud and Minnesota."

Dave Gruenes, chair of the Greater St. Cloud Development Corp., praised the deal as a good fit for the community. Geringhoff will be located close to local suppliers, a strong workforce, and "a thriving agricultural network and collaborative business community," he said.

Geringhoff CEO Daniel Hansmeier said in a statement that St. Cloud "will be our foundation to create an even larger presence across North America as we introduce a significant number of new products that are currently under development."

Joseph Jandrisch has been named the president of the newly formed Geringhoff in North America.

Dayton, Gruenes and Mark Phillips, commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development, are expected to meet with Geringhoff officials at 11 a.m. Tuesday in St. Cloud to mark the announcement and answer questions.

Dee DePass • 612-673-7725