Search Is Underway for Site of First Industrial Sugarbeet Plant
by Dale Hildebrant (Minnesota Farm Guide) Tuesday, Jan. 28, marked the beginning of a five-city tour for the steering committee of BeetsAll Biofuel in their search for a site for the first industrial beet plant site.
The committee’s first stop was in Valley City. Later in the week stops were planned for Jamestown, Carrington, Langdon and Cando, since these are communities BeetsAll Biofuel feels have the best chance of landing the first processing facility.
The reason for these visits was two-fold, according to Lloyd Anderson, a partner in the Green Vision Group. The first was to provide information to growers on the various aspects of raising industrial beets, and the second was to begin to gauge interest growers in a certain area will have to sign production contracts for that first plant.
the term “energy beet” has been replaced by “industrial beet,” according to Anderson, since it’s been determined that the non-food sugarbeet can also be successfully converted into a wide range of products besides ethanol, like plastics, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, nutriceuticals and other high-value chemicals.
“Sugar is really what we are talking about – sugar has a big opportunity,” Anderson told a group of about 40 growers. “We can get two times the amount of ethanol off an acre of sugarbeets than we can off an acre of corn. And with a beet, we can go directly from sugar into ethanol production, while with corn we first have to convert the starch into sugar.”
The deep tap roots of the beets improve soil health and make use of soil moisture and plant nutrients in the lower levels of the soil profile. Beets can be grown under no till management systems and in rocky soils.
Efforts are also underway to develop a federal crop insurance program for industrial beets, since most growers would probably shy away from planting the crop if it wasn’t insurable. READ MORE