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State gives Cargill $2M, tax credits

By Staff | Apr 29, 2011

FORT DODGE – The planned Cargill Inc. corn milling operation west of Fort Dodge received a hefty boost on April 14 from the state government.

The Iowa Economic Development Board awarded the company a $2 million loan and tax credits worth up to $603,000.

”That’s excellent news,” said John Kramer, the president of the Development Corporation of Fort Dodge and Webster County.

One-half of the loan will be forgiven, while the other half will be repaid over five years with no interest, according to the Department of Economic Development.

The tax credits will be in the form of a refund of sales, service and use taxes paid during construction, according to the department.

The Cargill project will occupy the former Tate & Lyle plant, which Cargill purchased for $57 million in a deal announced March 31.

”We look forward to being a part of the Fort Dodge community,” said Nicole Reichert, a spokeswoman for Cargill. ”We see an opportunity in Fort Dodge to replicate the success we have had at our Blair, Neb., and Eddyville, Iowa, biorefinery campuses.”

”The corn wet mill ethanol plant will provide the base load corn grind for the facility, and we hope to grow additional bio-based businesses at the site in the coming years,” she added.

Reichert said the plant will make 115 million gallons of ethanol annually. It will consume 150,000 bushels of corn a day, she added.

That demand for corn will create more income for area farmers.

”This can generate millions of more dollars that will be spent locally,” Bill Horan, a Knierim-area farmer and member of a U.S. Department of Agriculture biofuels committee, said when the project was announced.

Ethanol is just part of the plan for the facility. Cargill leaders want to turn the plant into an integrated biorefinery that would produce ethanol and provide raw materials to other companies that would locate nearby.

”Cargill anticipates making a series of additional investments to develop this facility into a biorefinery complex, which will take additional time,” Reichert said.

The plant is expected to employ 104 people. It will begin operating in 18 to 24 months.

”We’re going to try to help them be successful out there,” said Webster County Supervisor Keith Dencklau.

Tate & Lyle intended to make ethanol and starch at the plant. However, the facility was mothballed in March 2009 when construction was nearly complete.

Construction of the plant began in September 2006. With a price tag of $260 million, the plant was heralded as the largest single investment in Webster County.

Contact Bill Shea at (515) 573-2141 or bshea@messengernews.net

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