Tall Corn Ethanol, a corn-based ethanol manufacturing facility located in west central Iowa between Bayard and Coon Rapids, is donating $10,000 to The FFA Enrichment Center. Tall corn is also pledging to donate another $10,000 in the future. As one of the state's first farmer-owned ethanol production facilities, Tall Corn Ethanol is challenging others to follow its lead.
"Tall Corn Ethanol's board is challenging other Iowa ethanol plants to make an investment in the future of agriculture with a contribution to help build The Iowa FFA Enrichment Center," says Warren Puck. He is past president of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association and current board president of Tall Corn Ethanol. "As soon as 60% of the Iowa-based, farmer-owned ethanol production facilities have contributed to The FFA Enrichment Center, then Tall Corn Ethanol will gladly donate another $10,000 to this worthwhile cause."
Gets $10,000 gift, plus $10,000 pledge
Puck says it's in the best interest of the ethanol industry to invest in The FFA Enrichment Center, which can play a key role in educating the future workforce.
"Ethanol production is rapidly growing, so there is more demand for skilled workers. Since Tall Corn Ethanol opened in 2002, more than 50 new jobs have been created in management, operations and maintenance," he adds.
"But Tall Corn is just one example," he points out. "There are already 26 ethanol production facilities on-line statewide with another 21 in the construction or expansion phase. When most people hear these numbers, they immediately think about increased demand for corn, but we also need to consider the potential employment issues."
More than 53,000 new jobs could be created statewide, according to results from a study released Feb. 28 by the IRFA. Based on the size of the biofuels industry at year-end 2006, ethanol and biodiesel could generate $1.8 billion of household income for Iowans and add about 7% to Iowa's Gross Domestic Product.
Ethanol is providing good jobs in Iowa
Helping young Iowans uncover new career paths in Iowa agricultural science and to provide hands-on learning opportunities not currently available to Iowa FFA members are key objectives of The Enrichment Center, says Ed Wiederstein, chairman of The FFA Enrichment Center's Capital Campaign Committee.
"The center's state-of-the-art facilities and planned curriculum will enhance learning opportunities for Iowa FFA members and our state's next generation of ag leaders," says Wiederstein. "By making a donation to The Enrichment Center and by issuing a challenge for other ethanol facilities to also make a contribution, board members for Tall Corn Ethanol are certainly 'leading by example.'"
"Lead by Example" is the theme of the multimillion-dollar capital campaign underway by The FFA Enrichment Center. The Center will provide educational development and leadership programs for more than 12,000 Iowa FFA members and the state's 245 agricultural education instructors.
Center will be located at DMACC
A partnership with Des Moines Area Community College will allow FFA members and ag science teachers to learn from DMACC instructors in various areas such as Agribusiness, Veterinary Technology, Horticulture and Viticulture. FFA alumni and members of the business community also will be able to participate in programming provided onsite, as well as through long-distance learning.
The FFA Enrichment Center will feature state-of-the-art greenhouses, resource and exhibition facilities, as well as conferencing and meeting facilities including: the Monsanto Center for Biotechnology, the Iowa Farm Bureau Biotech Lab, the Pioneer Agriscience Computer Laboratory, vet technology labs, and the Cargill Communications Center with fiber optic connectivity. The center will be located on the DMACC Ankeny campus, just north of Des Moines.
For more information on The FFA Enrichment Center and its capital campaign, contact Mary Boote, 309 Court Ave., Suite 214, Des Moines, IA 50309. Phone 515-274-0800 or e-mail [email protected].