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Ground breaks on Maple River Energy Biodiesel plant

Monday, July 23, 2007

Over 100 people gathered Wednesday on a 28-acre plot south of Galva for the Maple River Energy ground breaking for a 5 million gallon per year biodiesel manufacturing facility and soybean crusher.

"This is every exciting," manager Delayne Johnson said. "We first started talking about this back in 2005 and it's been a 16 month process, now it will be another 12-14 month period to build the facility. Every step has been very exciting for us."

Construction will start next week and when completed in 2008 the plant will be next to the Quad County Corn Processors ethanol facility and visible from Highway 20. A web site, www.mapleriverenergy.com, will be up and running in about two weeks and progress reports and photos of the construction will be posted.

"My favorite show is Extreme Home Makeover where the community gathers to help a family and help change their house in seven days," Johnson said during ground breaking. "The way the community is getting behind this project is similar to the show."

Maple River Energy has local investors, some that Lucy Norton, managing Director of Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, applauds.

"This facility will not only benefit the farmers and those who use biodiesel but the investors will make a profit and be able to use within their community is great," Nortorn said.

Norton said that she has noticed a lot of changes in the renewable fuels energy and that there is a market still ready to be tapped by both ethanol and biodiesel.

"It may be hard to believe but there are areas of the country that don't use biodiesel and ethanol like Iowans do and if we as the country's highest producers of renewable fuels are able to go into those markets, it will help with more of a demand," Norton added.

Norton and the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association have been busy going to different communities and celebrating the openings of new faculties.

Curt Sindergrad, President-Elect of the Iowa Soybean Association and a soybean farmer for 30 years never expected soybeans to become a key part of renewable fuels.

"You talked to anyone years ago, there would have been nothing being discussed about biodiesel like it is now," Sindergrad said.

Corn-based ethanol has created such a demand for corn that soybean rotations have been shrunk down for more corn on corn rotation.

"This is a great opportunity for soybean producers, facilities like this will need our product and it is something that can utilized in their areas," Sindergrad.

United States Department of Agriculture provided a $10 million guaranteed loan. State Director Mark Reisinger was on hand to present the check to Maple River Energy on Wednesday afternoon.

"This loan will not cost tax payers as long as Maple River isn't delinquent on their loans," Reisinger said. "We co-signed the loan to lower the interest rate and to help remove some of the risk for the banks and we could not have done without local banker Bob Butcher."

Reisinger worked for Senator Chuck Grassley in rural development efforts.

"I would have never expected that I would be able to stand here and look to the north or east and not even a couple miles away is wind energy and to the west is ethanol and we are stand on what will be biodiesel," Reisinger said. "Senator Grassley use to say is look at any agricultural area and you see a possibility for economic development and that is what this is."

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