17 Aug Evansville site chosen for biodiesel plant
Evansville, Wis. – After months of speculation, North Prairie Productions, LLC, an alternative fuel producer, announced that it has selected a site for a biodiesel plant that will produce 45 million gallons of fuel per year.
The company will begin construction on the $42 million facility next spring on about 15 acres of land on the city’s east side, where it will relocate its Waterloo offices.
The site was chosen based on its proximity to railway and road infrastructure and accessibility to raw materials. Rock and Dane counties are the top soybean producers in the state.
But the economic implications are profound for a community with a population of about 4,000 people. For starters, the facility will create 25 jobs with a median income of $50,000.
In terms of indirect economic impact and induced activity, the plant will generate an estimated $127.5 million in annual revenue in the area and create 103 total jobs, according to a University of Wisconsin Extension software program.
The software simulation also predicts the plant will indirectly generate $4.7 million in annual revenue from trucking firms and railroads. The induced impact is expected to generate an additional $5.9 million.
Induced activity from the plant will add 50 jobs and indirectly generate 28 others, according to the software projections. These 78 peripheral jobs would add $7.3 million to the area in salary and wages, with $2.6 million from the indirect jobs and $3.5 million from the induced jobs.
Company leaders noted a possible deal to co-locate the plant with the first proposed soybean crushing facility in Wisconsin to enhance North Prairie’s competitive profile. Landmark Services Cooperative, the company that sold the site, is expected to comment on a possible deal later.
The Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board released a study citing Evansville as one of the top locations for a crush facility. Proximity to soybean producers was the number one reason for choosing Evansville as the plant site, said Jeff Pieterick, VP for North Prairie.
“It was identified as being right in the prime area for an eventual soybean crush plant,” he said.
The impact of a crushing facility would be “huge,” he added. Farmers currently ship soybeans out of the state and import meal for animal feed back into the state. But a crush plant would create both the oil for biodiesel and meal for cattle to be used locally.
Pieterick cited possible on-site expansion in glycerin refining and by-products, but said that North Prairie has its hands full with the current project.
Beyond the logistical advantages, Pieterick said the community’s willingness to host the plant made the decision easier.
“It’s a pretty remarkable community that’s really focused on renewable energy,” Pieterick said. “It just seemed to make a good fit.”
“We’re going to be around for awhile,” he said. “It’s pretty exciting.”
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