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Posted on  

October 1, 2003

New ethanol plant likely to boost corn prices

The Sedalia Democrat

MALTA BEND -- Construction of a new, farmer-owned ethanol plant in Saline County will begin with a ground-breaking ceremony Saturday.

The plant is being built about five miles north of Marshall in Malta Bend. It will produce 40 million gallons of ethanol a year using 15 million bushels of corn.

When it begins operating in the spring of 2005, the plant is expected to increase the value of locally grown corn as well as generate revenue for the farmers who invested.

"I think it will affect prices some, more so up in that direction than it will down here, but it will make some difference down here," said Mike Carter, a farmer in Green Ridge and one of about 720 investors.

Chicken and pork producers in Pettis County could lose some corn suppliers to the ethanol plant, affecting prices of corn throughout the area, said Mid-Missouri Energy project coordinator Patty Kinder.

"There is competition with your corn network in your area, so I think it would affect the basis that far down," said Mrs. Kinder.

According to a study by the Missouri Corn Growers Association, the plant could create nearly 1,800 jobs in Missouri and increase economic activity in the state by $169 million.

"That is ancillary jobs that come about," said Mrs. Kinder. "It's things like eateries, tire repair shops, needs that come out of the business because it is located there and likewise the dollars that are generated."

About 35 people will be hired at the plant, which will cost about $60 million to build.

Farmers in Carroll, Lafayette and Saline counties started a steering committee to study the feasibility of building an ethanol plant in the area in May 2002. The group then formed Mid-Missouri Energy and began a successful equity drive, raising more than $16 million in investments from producers.

Boedecker Construction, of Malta Bend, already has started moving soil and preparing the site, but investors and dignitaries will be on hand for the ceremonial start of construction at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

Mid-Missouri Energy will serve lunch beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Guests expected to attend include U.S. Sen. Kit Bond and U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, State Reps. John Quinn and Jim Seigfreid, Missouri Sen. David Klindt, Missouri Corn Growers Association Chief Executive Officer Gary Marshall and Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Peter Hofherr.



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