5. Arkansas biodiesel plant will use 100 percent soybeans

Oct 9, 2006 10:37 AM
A new facility that will produce biodiesel fuel made entirely from soybean oil will be built near DeWitt, Ark. Founders of Arkansas SoyEnergy Group, LLC, say they expect to produce the first 100 percent soy-based fuel by late 2007.

The plant will crush soybeans grown within a 50-mile radius of DeWitt, creating a new market for area farmers as well as providing “homegrown energy” that can be used in farm machinery and vehicles. Soybean meal from the plant can be used for animal feed.

Arkansas SoyEnergy is believed to be the state’s first biodiesel plant that uses only soybeans and that is equipped to crush the beans on-site. Other biodiesel plants in the state use soybean or cottonseed oil, animal fats or used cooking oils to make biodiesel that is then blended with regular diesel.

“The greatest thing about this new plant is that it will help the farmers in this community,” said Troy Hornbeck of DeWitt, a principal in Arkansas SoyEnergy Group. “Farmers need new markets for their crops, and they are battling higher energy costs. Our goal is to create new markets and produce cost-effective fuel for farmers, right here in Arkansas County.”

When initial construction is complete, Arkansas SoyEnergy will produce 3 million gallons of biodiesel that is 100 percent soy-based. Future expansion could more than double the initial capacity.

Biodiesel is any renewable fuel for diesel engines that has been made from natural oils, and which meets the specifications of the American Society of Testing and Materials. Pure, unblended biodiesel is called B100, and blended fuels are labeled to show their biofuel content. For example, B20 is a blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel.

Arkansas SoyEnergy Group will process up to 110,000 tons of soybeans annually, and 85 percent of that volume will leave the plant as soybean meal for use in animal feeds.

“As a year-round soy fuel refiner, Arkansas SoyEnergy Group will be a consistent source of high quality soy meal that the feed mills in our region require,” Hornbeck said. “That is another way this plant can create a stronger market for local farmers.”

Arkansas SoyEnergy Group is building its facility on a 22-acre tract along Highway 165 south of DeWitt. The plant will be built in phases, starting with machinery that will crush the locally grown beans, extract and produce partially refined soybean oil. When that work is completed next year, work can begin on the second phase to produce up to 3 million gallons of B100 by year-end 2007.

“We will be able to sell partially processed oil to other refiners, or we could splash-blend the B100 on our site for delivery to the farm, or we could sell the B100 fuel,” Hornbeck said.

B100 has been used for several years in Argentina. In the United States, biodiesel use this year is expected to double the 75 million gallons consumed in 2005. To meet demand, as many as 50 new biodiesel plants are being built nationwide.

Rather than seeing other plants as competition, Arkansas SoyEnergy Group welcomes a growing biodiesel industry. “That’s the best way to give farmers an opportunity to succeed, plus it would improve our energy independence and help local economies,” Hornbeck said.

Arkansas farmers produce approximately 124 million bushels of soybeans. A bushel will yield about 1.3 gallons of B100.

The Arkansas SoyEnergy plant is designed to allow still more expansion, with the potential for up to 6.5 million gallons of soy-based B100 in the future.

Arkansas SoyEnergy Group was founded by Jeff, Troy and Jon Hornbeck, all of DeWitt. They also own and manage a family farm and the Hornbeck Seed Company, based in DeWitt. Starting in 1981, Hornbeck Seed has grown into one of the Mid-South’s premier dealers of proprietary soybean products. <>  is a web site with data of flowering period of native plants. Using these results can help you in selection of plants to encourage and propagate for buffer zones and natural areas on your farm. This study has found the when plants are in bloom then beneficial insects will be attracted to the area, thus making them a possible control of agronomic pest insects, especially Lepidoptera larvae.  


6. Will work for food-Featuring Whetham’s organic farm-

Community Supported Agriculture putting down roots



Tuesday, October 03, 2006

By Ron Krueger

[log in to unmask] • 810.766.6117 


How does this garden grow? 

  What: A Community Supported Agriculture program is where a farmer sells shares to produce buyers who also work in the field. 

  Number: There are 75 gardens listed at, the Web site for CSA Michigan. 

  Cost: Shares (usually run about $400 for a season) depending on how much work you do. 

  What you get: A season of organically grown produce. 

  How old: A version was created in Switzerland in the 1980s. It came to the States in 1985. 

FLUSHING TWP. - Sue Jarema drove past supermarkets, farmers markets and roadside farm stands to buy fresh vegetables all summer. 

She drove each week, starting in mid-May, to Patricia Whetham's farm. She paid a onetime fee and got a good deal, but there was one catch. 

She had to toil in Whetham's garden. 

For her money, Jarema not only got more organically grown produce than she could use, she got some sun on her back, some dirt under her fingers, made new friends and got acquainted with kale and kohlrabi. 

The concept is called Community Supported Agriculture and it is growing. There are 75 gardens listed at, the Web site for CSA Michigan. 

Whetham has been growing and selling vegetables for three decades, but this is the first year she ventured into CSA. 

Four families signed on for a full "share." They each paid about $400 upfront, agreeing to put in 25 hours in exchange for 20 weekly vegetable assortments. 

Eight other families bought half-shares. Jarema and her husband, Chuck Barker, were one of those. Even then, they received more produce than they could use. 

"I froze some green beans but gave stuff away some weeks," she said. 

The CSA concept is traced to Japan. Some housewives took note of a decline in the number of farms and more food imports and approached a farmer about helping him in exchange for a ready supply of fruits and vegetables. 

A version was created in Switzerland in the 1980s. A Massachusetts woman, Robyn Van En, created her model at her Indian Line Farm and called it Community Supported Agriculture. That was 1985. 

The sum collected from consumers is supposed to cover the gardener's expenses and pay them a nominal salary. The reality is that considerable time and effort are required to run a CSA garden, according to Diane Franklin of Springfield Township. 

"We're in our fifth year, and we're just starting to make money," she said. Franklin and her husband, John, own Rocky Gardens Farm. 

The Franklins have 39 shareholding families for their 1 1/2-acre garden. 

One thing they learned is that some people who like the idea of trading their time for fresh produce don't appreciate the commitment. 

"I tell people upfront they have to plan to make most of their meals at home every week, week after week," Diane Franklin said. "Once the stuff (produce) starts coming, it keeps coming. You won't be able to take some weeks off and go out to eat three times." 

She also has frank words for some new CSA gardeners and anyone thinking of going that route. 

"It's a trial-and-error enterprise, and you will want to build slowly. Don't sell too many shares at first. If you can't deliver the produce you promise, you will lose members and get a reputation you don't want." 

Jarema, 48, magistrate in Flint's 68th District Court, said she bought a half share in Whetham's garden out of health concerns. 

"I was diagnosed with cancer several years ago, and my husband has had some health problems," she says. "I decided it was time to eat better food." 

Jarema says she has logged about 10 hours weeding, picking and doing other chores. But that still doesn't meet her obligation. "I'll be spending a whole Saturday out there this month helping clean things up for the winter." 

Jarema's half-share costs about $200. But Whetham also permits shareholders to get a variety box of produce without lifting a finger. But they pay $600 for a full share. 

"I only had one nonworking member this year, "Whetham said. "That defeats the purpose, but it's an option." 

Molly Boons of Grand Blanc is another of Whetham's half-share families. She said she is cooking and eating vegetables she spurned in the past. 

"When I found beets in my box, I roasted them, and my 2-year-old son loves them," Boons said. "We noticed the salad greens stayed fresh longer than the ones you buy in the store." 

Three Roods CSA garden in Lapeer County's Marathon Township, started in 1995, is one of the older ones in Michigan. 

"We've always kept it small, about 2 acres," said Robin Mallor. "We have eight shareholders representing 10 families. Each one is expected to put in three hours here every four weeks." 

About half of those families are from Macomb County and take turns driving to pick up produce, Mallor added. 

Whetham said a big part of a CSA host's obligation is to educate members. 

"These are people who believe in buying locally, but most have never gardened and aren't familiar with some of these vegetables. 

"I also noticed my shareholders getting to know each other, which reflects the community part." 

7.  U.P. Agricultural Experiment Station Fall Beef Research Day           October 17, 2006

U.P. Agricultural Experiment Station, Chatham, MI

12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (lunch on your own)


12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.         Weaning Research Observation

Observe research in progress on comparison of 3 weaning strategies for beef calves. Which is least stressful?  The investigators will be on hand to discuss the data they are collecting and how it may apply to your operation.

1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.           Beef Topics Round-Table Discussion

Bring your questions for the MSU specialists in an informal round-table discussion.  Topics will also include winter feeding strategies and the latest on animal identification.


MSU Specialists

Dan Buskirk – Dept. of Animal Science – Beef Nutrition & Mgmt.

Janice Siegford – Dept. of Animal Science – Animal Behavior & Welfare

Ben Bartlett – Extension Beef/Dairy Educator

Paul Naasz – U.P. Agricultural Experiment Station Manager

8. WTO Rules in Favor of Biotech 

The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled in favor of the U.S., Argentina, and Canada in their WTO case against the EU over its illegal moratorium on approving agricultural biotech products. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns said, "Today's decision affirms what the world's farmers have known about biotechnology for many years. Since the first biotechnology crops were commercialized in 1996, we've seen double-digit increases in their adoption every single year. Biotechnology crops not only are helping to meet the world's food needs, they also are having a positive environmental impact on our soil and water resources." - Scott Shearer



Vicki Morrone

Organic Vegetable and Crop Outreach Specialist

Michigan State University

C.S. Mott Sustainable Food Systems

303 Natural Resources Bldg.

East Lansing, MI 48824


517-282-3557 (cell)

517-353-3834 (fax)