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Posted on  

December 20, 2002

New ethanol plant topic at meeting

The Dickinson Press
December 19, 2002

SCRANTON - The Scranton Community Center was abuzz Wednesday with talk of building an ethanol plant in the region.

The meeting was held to gauge the reaction of area agricultural producers. Survey forms were handed out to the approximately 40 people who attended.

"This project can happen. This isn't snake-oil kind of talk," Mark Erickson of Scranton told the spectators.
The proposed plant would convert corn into fuel, which would be blended with gasoline at a refinery.

Erickson, a district sales manager for a hybrid seeds company, plus Ambrose Hoff of Richardton, who operates a specialty seeds company, and Jody Hoff, a grain bin manufacturer, also of Richardton, organized the meeting.

"We're looking at doing a few more of these meetings to see what kind of interest is out there," said Jody Hoff.

The surveys that were distributed at the meeting asked the producers if they would increase their corn acreage, and how many acres they would plant. They were also asked if they were interested in buying stock in the ethanol plant, and if it should be organized as a cooperative or as limited liability company.

If the idea is carried beyond the meetings, Jody Hoff said the next step would be to conduct a feasibility study. The study would address issues such as the plant's location, the availability of corn and access to utilities for the plant's operations.

The state's Agricultural Products Utilization Commission may be a source of some of the funding for the study. The commission awards grants to projects that would assist agricultural processing ventures.

The dates of a future meeting or meetings regarding the proposed plant haven't yet been announced.



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