Marshfield may be considered a small town with just under 20,000 people, but it’s home to some big business. Known for its health care, farming, transportation and manufacturing industries, this city, located in the heart of Wisconsin, has a bustling business climate that continues to thrive.
There is an ample workforce available,” says Scott Larson, executive director for the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “Marshfield has been more resilient than other parts of the country following the economic downturn.”
Ministry St. Joseph’s Hospital and Marshfield Clinic continue to keep the health-care sector afloat. The clinic, which is the largest health-care research facility in the state, employs 7,500 people in centers around Wisconsin. Its cutting-edge work in epidemiology, farm medicine, clinical research, human genetics and informatics make it a hot spot for biomedical research. The clinic also recently opened the $40 million Laird Center for Medical Research, named after former congressman and U.S. Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird.
Dairy Industry Top-Notch
Another business sector that continues to boom is the dairy farming industry, which superintendent of the University of Wisconsin – Marshfield/Wood County Agricultural Research Station Tom Drendel calls “the bread and butter of Central Wisconsin.”
With the emergence of new cost-efficient, earth-saving gadgets such as the anaerobic digester, farmers are finding innovative ways to keep up with economic demands. One farm that followed suit was Norm-E-Lane Farms, located about 20 miles outside of Marshfield in Chili.
The dairy farm purchased its digester and is currently producing and selling back to the local utility company enough electricity to power roughly 500 homes. The device, more commonly known on the farm as a cow stomach, does this by converting cow manure into biogas over several days, and then the methane in the biogas is burned to generate electricity.
Norm-E-Lane is not the only one thinking of green ways to pour back into the local economy. The Sustainable Marshfield Committee was established to do just that. Marshfield’s Buy Local initiative, which encourages residents and businesses to buy locally to help generate tax dollars, was started to enhance the economic vitality of the community.
MCCI is a big supporter of the Buy Local campaign. Its popular gift certificates, which are good at any Marshfield business, “have really enhanced the (Buy Local) group,” says Karen Olson, the chamber’s business development director. The gift certificates now bring in an excess of $800,000 each year.
Weber's Farm Store, which specializes in fresh dairy products, is one business involved in the Buy Local campaign. In addition to dairy, they offer varieties of cheese, meat products, butter and eggs. And former dairy farm, Memory Lane Farms, brings in visitors with its agricultural tours, horse drawn wagon rides, a petting zoo and more.
Also breathing life into the economy is the many restaurants, theaters and shops that compose downtown Marshfield. The Mill Creek Business Park, a convenient and spacious complex that makes it easy for tenants to access transportation corridors, helps too. It offers flexible zoning and multi-sized lots to several businesses in the area.
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