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Here's one we've followed from kitchen table forward.

Tom J Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

October 23, 2006

2 Min Read

Troy Prescott, Winchester, opened the side door to his house and ushered me in. I sat down at the kitchen table. Twelve men, nearly all farmers, either sat or crowded around the table. They were all there for one reason: they believed they could improve their bottom line if they could bring an ethanol plant to eastern Indiana, and improve the price for corn.

That was 18 months ago. Other people have had the same idea, although most of them are large companies. On Tuesday, Oct. 17, the rain fell outside as 300 people pushed inside a tent erected near the site of where Cardinal Ethanol will be located. It's between Winchester and Union City off Indiana Highway 32, just a few miles west of the Ohio line.

The neat thing about this project? "We've got over 1,000 investors," says Tom Chalfant, one of the farmers who helped keep the dream alive until it took on a life of its own. "There aren't as many farmers amongst the investors as we had hoped, but we still have strong representation on the Board of Directors.

Governor Mitch Daniels was there to turn the first shovel of dirt. "This one is really exciting because it's another case of bringing economic development to rural Indiana," he says. "We said agriculture would be a major part of the economic recovery in this state, and we still believe it. Every time we do one of these, and there will be more, we prove that we were right."

Depending upon whose counting, this is the 16th new ethanol plant that has either broken ground or is very close to doing so in Indiana. Two years ago there was only one true ethanol plant - New Energy at South Bend, a fixture since the late '70s. GMC at Washington, Ind., makes ethanol, but producing ethanol as a commodity is not the main goal of that plant.

The Cardinal Ethanol plant is slated to be a 100 - million gallon facility. Most of the plants proposed later in the ethanol boom period have been larger plants. Fagen Construction, the largest builder of ethanol plants, will erect the plant.

The Ohio connection is important, Governor Daniels commented. Several investors and many of the suppliers of corn are expected to come from Ohio.

About the Author(s)

Tom J Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

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