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Delta Bridge Project announces grant to fund oilseed processing facility feasibility study
Shawn Payne, Delta Bridge Project Steering Committee member and Jack Hornor, Economic Development Goal Team chairman announced $41,500 in grant funding to the Phillips County Chamber of Commerce to conduct a feasibility study for an oilseed processing facility. The facility would be built adjacent to the bio-diesel facility that is currently being constructed in Phillips County.
Frazier, Barnes, and Associates, LLC, will conduct the study to determine the feasibility of an oilseed processing facility with a capacity of 1,600-2,400 tons per day. The facility would process multiple oilseeds, such as soybeans, canola, and cottonseed. Oil from the processed seeds can then be used to make bio-diesel.
The same firm used a previous $30,000 Delta Bridge Project grant to conduct a feasibility study for a bio-diesel manufacturing plant. The results of that study led investors to invest $25 million to establish Delta American Fuel in Phillips County, a bio-diesel plant currently under construction and expected to begin operations in late December 2007.
“It is expected that this new study will leverage an additional multi-million dollar investment in Phillips County, capitalizing on Phillips County’s advantages in the alternative fuels industry,” said Hornor.
Billy Ray, Phillips County Chamber of Commerce executive director, deems the oilseed processing facility as vital to the long-term success of the bio-diesel production facility.
If the oilseed processing facility proves feasible and investors can be found to fund the facility, it will lead to the creation of an integrated bio-diesel operation. Phillips County farmers will produce oilseeds, the new facility will crush the seeds, and Delta American Fuels will process the oil into bio-diesel and distribute it to external markets.
“This vertical integration will generate jobs by creating more value-added agriculture processing in Phillips County,” said Payne.
It is anticipated that the crushing plant would create 40 to 50 additional jobs in the local economy and provide a market for local soybean growers from Phillips County and other counties in the Delta.
The Delta Bridge Project is a comprehensive community development initiative for Phillips County. The goals of the Delta Bridge Project are outlined in the Phillips County Strategic Community Plan, which was developed by over 300 Phillips County residents during an 18-month strategic planning process. The grant for the oilseed processing facility feasibility study directly addresses a strategic development goal identified by the community in this document.
Southern Financial Partners is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit lender and community development organization founded in 1986. Southern Financial Partners is an affiliate of Southern Bancorp, a $550 million rural development bank holding company working to transform rural economies by stimulating investments in people, jobs, businesses, and property with banking operations in Arkansas and Mississippi.