Community Profile

Home » Community Profile

Rice County

Rice County is a vibrant region that spans almost 500 square miles in central Minnesota, just south of Minneapolis and St. Paul. That wide stretch is home to a number of historic towns that have retained their sense of tradition. Along with that pride in its rich history, Rice County actively embraces the future by attracting and retaining businesses and jobs in the high tech, healthcare, education, and “green” industries.

Among the key features and selling points of the County, which includes Faribault, Northfield, Dundas, Morristown, Nerstrand and Lonsdale are:

  • Proximity to the Twin Cities and Surrounding States- Rice County and its communities are within 30 minutes of the Twin Cities and the airport via Interstate 35, a major north-south connector. There are also several regional highways leading to Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois. This access is beneficial to companies seeking a diverse and plentiful labor supply and an efficient distribution network for goods made in and/ or distributed from the area.
  • Workforce- The County draws from a widely diverse and educated labor pool that spans a multi-county area. This allows businesses to move to Rice County or expand their operations knowing that they easily can fill varied and important positions.
  •  Business Environment- The County has a pro-business culture that seeks and embraces partnership opportunities to meet the needs of companies looking to grow.
  • Taxes- Residential and commercial property taxes are among the lowest in the state. This provides a strong competitive edge and helps facilitate development and attract business and families.
  • Land- There is an ample supply of land ready for development, offering businesses many choices to suit their needs for office, industrial, distribution, light and heavy manufacturing and retail development.

Faribault and Northfield are the two largest towns in the county. Each town has its own district business environment and focus, while sharing a common sense of history and dedication to promoting growing industries.

Among the progressive companies that call Rice County home is SAGE Electrochromics, Inc., an innovative “green” glass manufacturer that has prospered and expanded in Faribault. Other key employers are food supplier Mom Brands (formerly know as Malt-O-Meal), construction company Met-Con and soon to be wind turbine gear manufacturer Moventas, Inc.

Rice County combines a strong business climate with solid educational opportunities for school aged children as well as those seeking college level studies. The country is home to two premier liberal arts colleges, St. Olaf and Carleton. Both colleges are located in Northfield and provide a wide range of educational opportunities.

Those who are seeking specialized business training can turn to South Central College, a community and technical college in Faribault with a history of academic excellence. The college’s Center for Business and Industry serves more than 15,000 people a year, preparing them for a variety of jobs in general business, non-profit and government agencies.

While a strong business climate is important, there are also many positive quality of life features that make this county unique. Small town living, multiple recreational opportunities and a pleasant Midwestern work ethic and mindset combine to give Rice County a competitive and rewarding edge.

For businesses and residents alike, Rice County is a community working together for growth and opportunity. 

Cities in Rice County