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Torgerson's an 'Economic Engine'

Havre Daily News/Nikki Carlson, file photo

Montana State University-Northern agriculture technology professor Tom Welch, left, talks with Torgerson's LLC corporate sales manager and MSU-N alum Jed Bengston Sept. 29 near the Applied Technology Center about a new Case Patriot 4420 sprayer that Torgerson's temporarily donated to MSU-N for students to learn about the newest automotive and agriculture technology.

A Hi-Line business was cited by U. S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., as a prime job creator, with the lawmaker applauding the work of Torgerson's and its now adding new positions in Havre and Great Falls.

"My hat goes off to the Torgerson family, " Baucus said in his release announcing Torgerson's selection as an economic engine. "For four generations, they've weathered significant changes in the global economy and are continuing to hire folks in the face of today's current economic challenges.

"It's important that we recognize the hard work and true grit it takes for a business like Torgerson's to continue to provide folks with good-paying jobs, " Baucus added.

The company was founded in 1912 in Etheridge, between Cut Bank and Shelby. Since then it has grown to include six stores, with outlets in Havre, Great Falls, Billings, Lewistown and Denton.

The business made headlines a month ago when it announced increasing its partnership with Montana State University-Northern. The company loaned more than $1 million in state-of-the-art farm equipment to the university for six months, to be used in its mechanics and agricultural departments. The equipment will be swapped out for other pieces every six months.

Brion Torgerson, general manager of the company, said during the ceremony Sept. 29 that his company is glad to work with Northern, continuing its long partnership in educating high-quality workers in agriculture, diesel and automotive technology and other fields in Northern's College of Technical Sciences.

In the release, Baucus said his Montana Economic Engine Initiative is an attempt to build on his work to support Montana businesses by highlighting success stories. Other parts of his effort include his holding economic summits and taking business representatives on tours to meet with representatives in other regions including South America and Canada.

Other businesses Baucus has highlighted in his initiative are Columbia Falls-based Nomad Global Communications Solutions; Stinger Welding in Libby;, which started in Harlowtown and now has workers in Bozeman, Lewistown and Livingston and has expanded to Australia and the United Kingdom; and Havre's Big Equipment Co., the 2009 state exporter of the year which has increased its workforce by 40 percent in the last two years.

In the release, Baucus also cited his Small Business Jobs Act, which he said provides aid to small businesses including:

  • $12 billion in tax cuts;
  • 100 percent exclusion from capital gains taxes on investments in small businesses;
  • A $10,000 tax deduction for start-up expenditures, doubling current levels;
  • Increased Section 179 expensing, permitting up to $500,000 in capital investments that business can expense;
  • New tools to help small businesses export which will leverage more than $1 billion in exports;
  • Increased Small Business Administration loan limits and improved access and lower costs for small business to access SBA loans;
  • A targeted $30 billion Small Business Lending Fund to provide small community banks with capital to increase small business lending; and
  • $1.5 billion in grants to support $15 billion in new small business lending through already successful state programs.


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