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Posted on  

October 17, 2002

Fagen announces plans for ethanol plant in Cerro Gordo County

©Waukon Standard 2002

Plant promises many benefits:

North Iowa corn producers may see increase of 5 cents per bushel or more on their corn yields.
Once operational, the average wage for the 35-40 plant employees will be $35,000 to $37,000 per year plus benefits.

Fagen, Inc., of Granite Falls, Minn., announced this month that they plan to build a 40-million-gallon ethanol plant on the south side of Mason City in the unincorporated area of Cerro Gordo County.

Fagen will design and build the facility to be the future home of Golden Grain Energy, LLC, an Iowa limited liability company owned by local area farmers and non-farmers.

The $55 million project, when complete, will bring 35-40 jobs to the region and employ 75-100 people during construction.

The company plans to begin site grading in November of this year. The 60-acre site, located on the north side of 240th Street, one mile north of the Avenue of the Saints/U.S. 18, must be rezoned, and an incentive package must be finalized as well as the procurement of other programs that apply to ethanol production.

"This is certainly exciting news, but really a work in progress," said Dan Culhane, executive director of the Mason City Economic Development Corporation.

"This is a tremendous project and the positive impression this will have on North Iowa will be felt by many, but there are several things that need to come together before we will see any dirt being moved on the site," he said.

Phil Dougherty, chairman of the Cerro Gordo County Supervisors, said, "The announcement by Fagen comes at a good time. It is a real boost to the local farm economy and its presence will be felt for many years to come."

Supervisor Bob Amosson, a farmer himself, shared similar sentiment. "This is just another step forward for Cerro Gordo County, working together with our partners, to develop new local industry and good jobs."

The impact this project will have on the region is widespread. Construction will positively affect local businesses such as motels, restaurants, and other service providers. Once operational, the average wage for the 35-40 employees will be $35,000 to $37,000 per year plus benefits.

The plant will use multiple services and estimates annual expenditures at $56 million on goods such as grain, labor, utilities, and purchases from local suppliers. It will generate an estimated $1.2 million in new tax revenue for local and state government and the biggest impact of all may be felt by North Iowa's corn producers who may see an increase of as much as 5 cents per bushel on their corn crops.

Supervisor Jay Urdahl said the county is committed to successful economic development. "This year marks a turning point for Cerro Gordo County. With the advent of the Alliant Energy power plant and now the ethanol plant, this illustrates Cerro Gordo County's commitment to having quality companies here and bringing good jobs that pay quality wages."

Stephen Gales, newly elected president of the MCEDC said the momentum the project brings to the region is unparalleled. "This is exciting news. I am pleased at the continuing momentum we are seeing as a result of aggressive economic development," he said.

Among recent development initiatives in north Iowa, Gales lists a new Alliant power plant, the Curries expansion into the former DMC facility, the announcement by IC System that they will add 200 employees in a new building, Sunny Fresh Foods' $10 million addition, Charles City winning the Winnebago Industries expansion, and now this project, all of which add up to a very rewarding year for North Iowa.

Of the planned ethanol plant construction, Culhane says, "The real work starts now. We are mobilizing to start the rezoning process on the site and will be assembling a team to finalize all of the applications for the various incentive programs. The coming weeks will be hectic, but projects like these make it all worthwhile and we are confident we can keep them on schedule for starting the site grading in November." 


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