The state’s economic development chief says Iowa has lost a billion dollar deal, but Iowa’s competing for two other billion dollar projects — and an announcement could come soon on one of the deals.
“In this business, you can do everything right and lose deals,” says Debi Durham, director of the newly-named Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress. “But we’re certainly hoping that we’ll have a big project coming forward in the next 60 days.”
Durham wants the state to start helping cities and counties “certify” that thousand-acre sites are ready for development for these types of “mega projects.
“I’m not saying we, the communities, need to own the land, but they need to have agreements already worked out with the farmers that we can exercise at any time, at a set price,” Durham says.
Durham envisions having an independent, third-party contractor determine that “certification” outlining if the land itself is ready for development, doing soil tests to determine how much grading much be required, for example. Durham says these kinds of “mega” sites could be “certified” as a location for a potential biorefinery or a large fertilizer complex.