On Tuesday afternoon I was asked to help a Triton FFA member with their prepared speech. This member was preparing for the State FFA Convention later this month at the University of Minnesota-St. Paul campus. Heading back to Faribault, I stopped and did a little "snooping" at the Al-Corn Clean Fuels Ethanol Plant at Claremont. The Al-Corn ethanol plant is in the process of a major expansion, taking ethanol production up to 120 million gallons a year.

When Al-Corn was built, it had a name plate capacity of 30 million gallons a year. Through increased efficiencies and minor expansions, it is producing about 50 million gallons a year. I will never forget when Al-Corn came on line in 1996 and corn was over $5 a bushel for the first time ever. Many thought it would not survive. It not only survived, but now is more than doubling the plant capacity.

You can see in one of the pictures all the vehicles parked at the plant as there are a lot of construction jobs. Most of the construction right now is still site preparation. General manager Randy Doyle told me some of the equipment is so large the soil cannot support it so they have to drive pilings into the ground to provide additional support. When you drive by Al-Corn on Highway 14 it is already impressive. When construction is finished it will be more than twice the size. Plus, remember Al-Corn is owned by area farmers!