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Landmark Willing to Build Soy Crush Facility with State's Help
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 09/14/2007

The city of Evansville, which was recently proclaimed as the Soybean Capital of Wisconsin, has even more news to boast about in the world of bioenergy. On Thursday, Landmark Services Cooperative announced they are willing to partner with the state of Wisconsin and the city to begin the financing process on a long awaited soybean crushing facility--but lawmakers have to make the first move. Landmark said it is committed to matching any investment made by the state toward a soybean crushing plant in Evansville, up to a maximum of $4 Million.

During a public press conference at its Rock County facilities on Thursday, Landmark urged the state Legislature to support Governor Doyle's $30 million renewable energy package and include a grant and incentive program for the distribution and production of biodiesel in the state budget, including $4 million toward the development of a soybean crushing facility. State Sen. Jon Erpenbach and Rep. Brett Davis, longtime proponents for legislation supporting renewable energy, are also pushing the measure in the state legislature.

"Wisconsin has always been a leader in agriculture and alternative energy. Making this biodiesel product plant a reality is not only good for Evansville but for all Wisconsin. This is truly an example of community and industry working together for the local economy and state innovation. I am confident things will move ahead in the Legislature," Sen. Jon Erpenbach said.

Landmark President John Blaska says his company is committed to the increased use of renewable resources in the state, including biodiesel fuel which is why our support for the Governor's $30 million renewable package is strong.

"We are excited about the prospective partnership--both strategically and financially--with Wisconsin government to invest in a soybean crushing facility in Evansville which will provide a great boost to Wisconsin's biodiesel, soybean and increasing livestock industries," Blaska said. "This is not only beneficial for the environment but is important for our state's economy and to stay competitive in the biodiesel and agricultural sectors."

In 2006, more than 12,000 soybean farmers, produced a record 72.2 million bushels of soybeans. Soybeans are a key ingredient in the development of biodiesel fuel, a clean-burning alternative energy source that is good for the environment and helps decrease dependence on foreign fuel.

Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Soybean Association says Evansville is a 'geographical gem' for the project because of its nearby available farmland and easy access to truck and rail transportation. In addition, construction is already underway on the North Prairie Productions biodiesel plant, which is located next door and expected to produce more than 45 million gallons of biodiesel per year.

And the city of Evansville has long supported the idea of a soybean crushing facility. Mayor Sandy Decker indicated during the ceremony that the city could provide in excess of $2 million in tax incremental financing, potentially bringing the initial investment in the project to $10 million.

Landmark Services Cooperative is the largest agricultural supply cooperative in Wisconsin, with more than 15,000 members and annual sales in excess of $225 million.

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