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Le Mars hosts agri-biz event luncheon

By Staff | Mar 28, 2015

-Farm News photo by Jolene Stevens LE MARS-AREA FFA’ERS preview the March 18 program for the luncheon held at the Le Mars Convention. From left are, Lane Marienau, chapter president; Jacob Holck, Whitney Ten Napel and Breanna Martin. David Kruse, president of CommStock Investments and a Farm News columnist, was the noon keynote speaker. Kruse commended the Le Mars FFA chapter for its participation the future roles its members will have in agriculture.

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LE MARS – A major Siouxland area expansion project is not only giving a shot in the arm to the regional economy, but benefiting northwestern Iowa farmers as well.

This was the message shared March 18 by Nick DeRoos, general manager of CF Energy, in Port Neal, during the annual Le Mars Agri-Business Ag Day Luncheon.

DeRoos, who is also project manager for the $2 billion plant expansion, told Farm News, the community benefits are found in the numbers of people being brought into the area and employed by CF, who need to be fed and housed, and the numbers of contractors supplying concrete, rebar, aggregate, lumber and safety gear.

“The ability of these individuals and business being able to deliver for this project of mega proportions has been outstanding,” DeRoos said. “And in the case of Woodbury County, the county has been patient and supportive in investing as it has the infrastructure needed for the project.”

DeRoos said as a native of the area growing up in Storm Lake, he’s especially proud of all the support.

CF’s expansion includes new facilities for producing anhydrous ammonia and urea, which is expected to be up and running in 2016, he said.

CF is also providing more security for domestic production of fertilizer products.

“The (expansion) allows CF, at the ground level, to produce these products regionally to overcome any logistic and transportation challenges of depending on non-regionally produced fertilizer products and will stabilize the supply of domestic fertilizer to this area,” he said. “What this means to farmers and producers is basically they won’t face a time lag for fertilizer products.

“The production will be right here.”

DeRoos said CF is monitoring climate change patterns, especially rainfall and temperature, necessitating variations in fertilizer management.

“The issue has a lot of implications for those of us as domestic fertilizer producers,” DeRoos said. “I think, however, it’s yet to be seen as to the exact impact on agriculture.

“I feel this time it’s still up for debate to see how it plays out.”

Commenting briefly on the current lawsuit filed by the Des Moines Water Works against Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac counties over alleged nitrate levels in the Raccoon River, DeRoos said CF has long been a “big supporter of responsible application of fertilizer at the right time and in the right amount.”

This emphasis, he said, supports the policies of The Fertilizer Institute, of which CF is a member.

TFI’s website describes its stance on nutrient stewardship as promoting and protecting a sound fertilizer industry through legislative and regulatory efforts at the federal, state and local level.

It addresses issues impacting member companies, promoting a favorable public image of the industry and agriculture, and sharing knowledge of the fertilizer industry with members, government and the ag industry in general on issues relating to fertilizer and the farm economy.

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