There is an ongoing discussion in Buena Vista County surrounding a rezoning request for a proposed soybean crush plant near Alta.
The County Board of Supervisors had a standing room only crowd as they heard arguments Tuesday for and against the current plans for the plant that could produce several dozen new jobs.
Sioux Rapids resident Ben Hollesen spoke in favor of the proposal saying benefits would likely be seen by more than just area farmers. He says the premium for beans is only 12 cents but he says the money with 60 bushels an acre for 1,000 acres, that’s $7,200 a year for 30 years. “It’s an awful lot of money to young farmers and there are a lot of young farmers in our area. It’s one of our biggest challenges right now is how to retain our local youth — how to keep them involved in agriculture,” Holleson says. “I just think this soybean crush plant is a huge win, not just for agriculture — but for our local community.
Not everyone likes where the Platinum Crush plant would be placed, including Paul Havenswho spoke on behalf of residents in the Lake Creek. He says safety is a concern. “They believe they are going to develop it so it will be just wonderful. But the railroad line is going to be right across the highway from our homes, and it’s going to generate a lot of noise — the truck traffic is going to generate a lot of noise. And if it is rezoned and it all comes about — it will seriously hurt the quality of life for the residents of Lake Creek,” Havens says.
The Board tabled the decision last week and asked County Engineer Bret Wilkinson to look into a possible traffic study along Highway 7 in the area the plant could be located. He says the information from the study could determine if there needs to be any modifications along the county roads or highway.
The board unanimously decided to table the decision for another week. That choice was met by some comments from the crowd afraid that waiting too long may ultimately lead to Buena Vista County losing the proposal to another location. A representative for Platinum Crush LLC, said last month, prior to the zoning discussions, the hope was to break ground on the new facility this Fall with the plant expected to be operational in 2024.
(By Corey Harguth, KICD, Spencer)