Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to johnc@cfra.org.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Foreign Company to Purchase Iowa Ethanol Plant

First Iowa ethanol plant to be purchased by a foreign company

The Midwest Grain Processors ethanol plant in Lakota could be the first farmer owned Iowa plant to be sold to a foreign firm. Chris Peterson, president of the Iowa Farmers Union, has concerns about the loss of local control of Iowa's growing ethanol industry.

For the first time, an Iowa ethanol plan could be purchased by a foreign company. Global ethanol of Australia has offered to buy a controlling interest in Midwest Grain Processors in Lakota. It was the state’s first and largest farmer owned ethanol plant. Chris Petersen, President of Iowa Farmers Union, has concerns about the loss of local control and what it means for national security.

"We can not be undermined in things that are of security interests in the country including energy, the ports. I believe there should be restrictions placed on it and it's very clear why."

Petersen is urging lawmakers to look at restricting foreign ownership of Iowa fuel producing plants. He says farmer owned plants help keep money spent on energy in Iowa.

“If we sell everything off, yeah they’ll be showing some short-term gains and profits, but for the long-term, contributing back to the economy, I believe local ownership is key.”

As profits of Iowa’s ethanol operations increase, investors both in the United States and overseas are showing interest in buying plants. Members of the cooperative that own the Lakota ethanol plant will have to approve the deal, and balloting on the question will probably be held next month.

Chris Peterson can be reached at 641-357-4090.

post a question or comment here or contact John Crabtree, johnc@cfra.org

Center for Rural Affairs
Values. Worth. Action.

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