Backers of a proposed project in North Dakota that would turn a variety of sugar beets into ethanol are hoping to get commitments from growers by the end of the year.
North Dakota State University agriculture economics professor Dave Ripplinger, who's helping developers with the project, is touring the state to gauge interest in growing the so-called energy or industrial beets. He says the turnout has been strong.
The goal is to open a plant by 2016 or 2017, but farmers map out their crop rotations at least two and perhaps four years in advance.
The leading sites in for the initial plant are Valley City, Jamestown, Carrington, Cando and Langdon.
Brett McIlonie, who farms near Pingree, says growers are interested in the project "if the numbers work."
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