All three area ethanol plants deserve support
These are critical times in Southwest Nebraska and now, more than ever, we need the leadership of Sen. Tom Baker to help us advance economically.
We know Sen. Baker can do it. He has shown his ability to get results by playing a leading role in the development of the ethanol plant in Trenton and by pushing hard to keep the Work Ethic Camp in McCook.
With this record of accomplishment, it is time for Sen. Baker to support two more important ethanol plant projects in Southwest Nebraska. We are talking about the projects now advancing towards reality in the Cambridge and McCook areas.
Good business people with solid credentials and substantial backing are working diligently to get these projects off the ground. And both development groups are complying with the rules set down by Sen. Baker and other members of the Nebraska Legislature.
Those rules specify that ethanol plants must produce 8,333 gallons of ethanol by June 30, 2004 to qualify for the ethanol incentives offered by the state. To do so, the ethanol projects in the McCook and Cambridge areas are relying on what are called "pilot plants," smaller ethanol producing facilities that will allow them to meet the criteria for the incentives.
Once the June 30th production criteria for incentives are met, the ethanol plant developers will proceed with the design and construction of much larger facilities for the on-going production of motor fuel grade ethanol and a host of by-products, including essential protein for livestock feed.
The benefit to this area -- and Nebraska -- will be immense. More than 30 well-paid employees will be hired at each plant, adding millions in payroll to the area economy, and demand for grain will result in higher prices for corn and milo, adding many additional dollars to the Southwest Nebraska economy.
Sen. Baker helped make the rules. Sen. Baker helped encourage the outstanding ethanol facility alongside U.S. Highway 34 east of Trenton. That's a great facility, and we applaud him for helping spearhead the development.
But this area is prime for further ethanol development. The grain is here, the water is here, the people are here and the need is here. Let's work together to build this area's economy by expanding ethanol production.
After all, isn't that what the ethanol incentives are all about? Aren't we all trying to build Nebraska's rural economy by increasing the market for grain and creating additional jobs for our communities?
Sen. Baker, we invite you to join us in supporting the ethanol plant projects in McCook and Cambridge. You helped create the ethanol incentives with your legislative efforts. Now, you can help us take advantage of that opportunity by doing all you can to see that two more area projects become realities.