Contact: Rita Shade Simpson
Clerk of the Board/Administrator
Salem County Board of Chosen Freeholders
92 Market Street. Salem, N.J. 08079
Contact: Freeholder Michael Facemyer
Farmers & Government Reps Discuss Ethanol Plant
SALEM - Salem County growers came out of their fields on this sunny day, fueled by the opportunity to talk about ethanol with County Freeholders, Senator Ray Zane, and a representative of Congressman Frank LoBiondo.
The Board of Chosen Freeholders which supports locating a farmer owned ethanol plant in Salem County, is assisting local agricultural leaders to secure a financial package to help fund the $19 million construction cost, said Deputy Director Jack Kugler.
The meeting took place on the farm of Harrison and Libby Myers in Upper Pittsgrove Township.
"Money is out there, but the requirements to receive the money must be carefully analyzed so that the primary goal of the ethanol plant is not jeopardized - ownership and management by the growers who invest in this venture," said Freeholder Michael Facemyer.
Kugler and Facemyer have reviewed the recently released ethanol feasibility study and have had on-going discussions with Rich Melchert, President of the Salem County Board of Agriculture, and other local farm leaders.
"It's clear that an ethanol plant is feasible, and that the best place to locate the facility is in Salem County," said Freeholder Facemyer. "The next step is for growers to determine the level of personal investment they will make and then seek financing for the remainder of the venture." It is estimated that approximately $10 million in financing will be needed.
"We have identified various grants and loans that are available on the federal and state levels for this type of economic development. We are also exploring the feasibility of a private partnership," said Kugler. "It may be, however, that the highest comfort level will be to secure traditional bank financing."
Corn-based ethanol, used to "stretch" gasoline, creates a more environmental- friendly fuel. A farmer cooperative would own the plant, giving growers a stable market for their grain and an investment return on the direct-marketed product.
Freeholders Mike Facemyer and Sue Bestwick (foreground) offer suggestions.
Freeholder Sue Bestwick and Senator Zane (table end) respond to discussions.
Director Dave Sparks (center) listens to farmers discuss ethanol plant.