The Buzz

Garnett ethanol plant under construction. Bill Spiegel

Published on: Nov 1, 2004

It's taken three years, but the board of directors of the East Kansas Agri-Energy ethanol plant can finally see the fruits of their labor. Owners of the closed cooperative held a groundbreaking ceremony last week for the 35 million gallon per year plant, south of Garnett...

  • More than 200 people turned out for the event. It's a significant event for these shareholders. Naysayers questioned the feasibility of a plant this size in eastern Kansas – most of the state's plants are in western Kansas, where ample supplies of corn and grain sorghum can be turned into ethanol and the by-product, dry distillers grains, are a short distance from the beef feedlots that feed this product...
  • Vital statistics for the ethanol plant: it will consume close to 13 million bushels per year; will employ 30 people; gross $50 million annually and cost $47 million to build...
  • The plant is Kansas' seventh. It should begin making ethanol by June, 2005...
  • An Associated Press news report indicates the state's farm economy has improved considerably over last year. Loan delinquency rates at the Kansas FSA office have dropped to 5.5% statewide, as of Sept. 30. That's down from 6.4% last year...
  • Ample rains have fallen throughout much of Kansas, lessening the impact of multi-year drought. However, northwest Kansas still is under severe drought pressure. That's where the loan delinquency rates are highest – 13%, according to the FSA...
  • Farmers, don't forget that the Kansas Ag Mediation Service, based in Manhattan, can help. Call (800) 321-FARM for help to resolve disputes; Kansas Legal Services (same number) will offer legal representation based on income level and the Kansas Rural Family Helpline (866) FARM-KSU can help with emotional support, counseling and other crisis intervention...
  • Cool, damp weather this fall has already caused problems for the fledgling Kansas wheat crop. Leaf rust is showing up in central and western Kansas, according to agronomist Jim Shroyer. The youngest wheat plants are at risk of dying, but for the most part, the threat to the crop is minimal, Shroyer reports.