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Farmers’ corn stover wanted for energy plant

By Staff | Aug 27, 2009

Loren Forrest of Rural Energy Marketing of Luverne, Minn., wants to meet area farmers who want to sell their corn stover for a biodiesel/gasoline plant. Forrest is holding meetings at their Estherville VFW 7 p.m. Sept. 4 and Sept. 11. EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

Area farmers will soon have the opportunity for a market for their corn stover to the tune of $180 to $270 an acre.

That’s what Loren Forrest of Luverne, Minn., estimates farmers can realize by selling their corn stover to Rural Energy Marketing. The company converts the stover to 80 percent diesel which will go to Minnesota markets and 20 percent gasoline which Forrest says will be sold to area ethanol plants to denature ethanol before shipment.

Forrest and his son, Russell, are starting up the company with a number of other developers.

After spending a lifetime in the farm and ag supply business near Luverne and farming since eighth grade, Forrest has spend the last eight years working on the process and plans for the plant which he would like to locate near Superior.

“I’m a farmer. Everything’s about yield,” Forrest said. “That allow us to pay the farmer top price.”

Rural Energy Marketing will pay $90 a ton for stover. However, Forrest said the company contracts not tons but acres.

Forrest said the plant will need just 35 gallons of water to operate each day, producing 8 million gallons of product yearly. He said the only co-product will be a 6 percent residual ash that could be a nitrogen enhancer. He said the plant will have a zero carbon footprint and process 110 tons of stover a day, or about 220 large, round bales. Forrest said the plant could employ up to 30-40 workers.

Forrest said he likes the Estherville area and would like to have Iowa Lakes Community College train workers for future plants to be built elsewhere.

“This is somebody else’s process hooked onto our front-end technology,” Forrest said.

He said the Iowa Department of Economic Development has endorsed the project.

Forrest will hold two meetings for area farmers Friday, Sept. 4 and Friday, Sept. 11, both at 7 p.m. at the Estherville VFW.

For further information, call Loren Forrest at 507-290-0630 or Russell Forrest at 507-290-0629.