Beating the Drum for Industrial Beets
by Keith Norman (Forum News Service/Ag Week) The promoter of an idea to raise sugar beets to be converted into energy and chemicals says 13 communities in central North Dakota could be home to processing plants.
Maynard Helgaas, president of the Green Vision Group, talked about industrial beets as a possible new crop for the region during a meeting in Jamestown N.D..
Industrial beets are a type of sugar beet used to produce ethanol and bio-chemicals. Green Vision Group is in the planning stages for a number of processing plants in central North Dakota.
Farmers within a 20-mile radius of a processing plant would be contracted to produce about 30,000 acres of energy beets per year. Each plant would employ about 25 people in year-round operations.
“The problems with the farm chemicals can be a big deal,” says Dennis Swanson, seed specialist for Wholesale Ag Products in Carrington. “Farmers that want to be a part of this in 2016 may have to change their chemical practices now.”
Helgaas says a demonstration project is planned for 2015 or 2016. Meetings with prospective farm producers are being scheduled for January. READ MORE