The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher/Owner
The success story of a group of Henderson County Illinois and Des Moines County Iowa farmers who joined together to build an ethanol plant, continues on, shareholders heard, as they attended the Big River Resources LLC and Big River Resources Cooperative 8th annual meetings.
February 24, at the PZAZZ Convention Center in Burlington, Iowa, BRR, LLC and Cooperative and General Manager Jim Leiting, told members of their very profitable year in 2010 using a power point presentation. It was followed by the President's Address by CEO Raymond E. Defenbaugh of Biggsville.
There are 648 members in Big River Resources LLC Cooperative, West Burlington, IA. The Cooperative owns 27.19% of BRR and with each shareholder only allowed one vote, the Cooperative holds the ruling vote over Big River Resources LLC, CEO Raymond E. Defenbaugh explains.
BRR, LLC own the West Burlington facility which is active in ethanol production, DDGS feed production and corn oil production for bio-diesel, and they own the majority ownership of a joint venture in Dyersville, Iowa, plus they are sole owner of a third plant at the Galva plant with a Uni-Train Loader that also adds value to corn with ethanol production, DDGS feed production, and corn merchandising.
Under the leadership of an active board of directors from Iowa-Illinois BRR have again increased their value in this past year, by nearly doubleing their net income from $28 million in 2009 to $52 million in 2010.
The main reason for this large of increase in 2010, General Manager Jim Leiting explains, is that the Dyersville and Galva plants were not up and running for the entire year in 2009.
Production in Galva began in May and Dyersville, Iowa did not begin until September 16, 2009, a plant that they were able to buy for pennies on the dollar from its bankrupt condition. It was a state-of-the-art Fagen built plant, ready for production.
BRR, LLC have consistently increased assets by taking advantage of opportunities and by operating their own in-house marketing team with regular risk management meetings. Big River Resources LLC is now the largest producing cooperative-owned ethanol plant in the United States.
In the past year alone, BRR increased their assets over $44,800 million, after acquiring property and grain equipment that bumped their assets up by over $13 million. They currently have some construction in progress.
Leiting said, "We have produced 330 million gallons of ethanol at West Burlington, Galva, and Dyersville and done well by managing the risk and using our own in-house marketing team."
Profit came about, even with higher corn prices due to hedging and sound purchases that could gain profits.
"Our mission statement is "To improve and stabilize the agricultural economic resources of the multi-state region by establishing corn-based ethanol as the premiere renewable fuel'," Defenbaugh said.
The farmers and BRR have done well in accomplishing their mission statement in providing America with premiere renewable fuel. And they have done their part in giving America an answer to dependence on foreign oil.
Now it is up to the America public to help give America a choice at the pumps by offering larger blends of home-grown American fuel.
Defenbaugh maintains that keeping our young men and women home and from guarding oil fields in Saudi Arabia is worth supporting ethanol even if it may cost us an extra quarter at the pump.
The Iowa-Illinois farmers have been working together for ten years on this ethanol project and during that time BBR has seen the following growth since production beganits first grinding of corn April 4, 2004:
Sales: $74 million to $742 m.
Earnings: $17.3 m to $63.6
Dividends: $2.9 million to
$18 million in 2010,
Locations: 1 and 8 in 2010,
Workers: 53 to 203
Corn: 15 million to 118.6
Corn prices: $2.29 to $6.84.
Interest in an ethanol plant began around 1992 after area farmers attended a seminar in Peoria called "Give "em An Ear Full." But it was actually the summer of 2000, when low corn prices sparked a need to find a value-added project and a group of farmers including Andy Brader, toured an ethanol plant.
Later that year, Raymond E. Defenbaugh of Biggsville, and Andy Brader of Mediapolis, IA lead regional Illinois and Iowa farmers, touring ethanol plants, investigating the business of ethanol and dried distiller grain as a possible value-added project.
In March, 2001, at a luncheon meeting in Monmouth to measure farmer interest in investing in an ethanol plant as a value added venture, the VFW was filled to capacity with much enthusiasm expressed by a large group of farmers.
In April, 2001, the "seed begins to grow," when a coop organization meeting was held at Kirkwood and a sixteen membe4r board was selected, the mission statement chosen, coop name given, and officers elected as follows: Co-chairman Andy Brader and Raymond E. Defenbaugh; Secretary- Richard Siegle and Treasurer Les Allen.
May, 2001, the first private money was donated by a large personal check to establish legitmacy with the ordinance plant, and the logo was designed for Big River Resources by Deborah Green.
June 27, 2001, Big River Resources Cooperative hires BBI to complete a feasibility study for building an ethanol plant in southeast Iowa or west-central Illinois.
July, 2001, The Illinois Corn marketing Board grants $20,000 to BRRC to conduct a feasibility study.
After Sept. 11, 2001, great urgency was felt to create not only added value to their corn but independence from foreign oil.
In November 2001, BBI works on completing a business plan. Each of the 16 directors contributes $1,000 as a non-refundable at risk membership fee to continue plans for an ethanol facility.
In 2002, Fagen, the world's largest builder of ethanol plants, was chosen as the contractor utilizing ICM technology and West Burlington, IA was chosen as the location and the first capital fund raising meeting was held at Monmouth followed by a second in Burlington, Iowa, and the board is reduced to 14 members.
The ethanol project receives a 20-year tax exemption from Des Moines County and tax incentives from Iowa Department of Economic Development to encourage plant location in Iowa and the capital fund raising drive continues.
Nov. 8, 2002 was the Groundbreaking with over 200 individuals from Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and South Dakota attending and Representatives from agricultural organizations and local/state agencies were present along with investors and interested public. Since breaking ground, the plant site has been an active place.
In Oct. 2003, Deborah Green was hired and employed as the first full-time employee of BRR, LLC. Her duties as Assistant Controller/Office Manager began out of her Henderson County farm home.
Corporate offices were moved from Monmouth to West Burlington, IA Dec. 2003 and the capital equity drive was closed with 611 members at the end of that year.
"The Seed is Planted" when regional farmers attend an ethanol seminar at Peoria, IL. The seminar was called "Give Them An Ear Full".
The "Seed is Watered" when low corn prices spark a need to find a value-added project. A group of farmers, including Andy Brader, toured an ethanol plant.
Raymond E. Defenbaugh of Biggsville, Illinois and Andy Brader of Mediapolis, IA lead regional Illinois and Iowa farmers. They toured ethanol plants and investigated ethanol and dried distiller grain production as a possible value-added project.
Luncheon meeting held in Monmouth, Illinois to measure farmer interest in investing in an ethanol plant as a value added venture. The meeting hall was filled to capacity with much enthusiasm expressed by a large group of farmers.
The "Seed begins to Grow," when a coop organization meeting was held at Kirkwood, Illinois Township Hall. A sixteen (16) member board was selected, the mission statement chosen, coop name given, and officers elected as follows; Co-chairman-Andy Brader and Raymond E. Defenbaugh; Secretary- Richard Siegle; Treasurer-Leslie G. Allen.
The first private money was donated by a personal check to establish legitimacy with the ordinance plant. Deborah Green designs Big River Resources logos.
June 27, 2001
Big River Resources Cooperative hires BBI to complete a feasibility study for building an ethanol plant in southeast Iowa or west-central Illinois.
The Illinois Corn marketing Board grants $20,000 to BRRC to conduct a feasibility study.
BBI works on completing a business plan. Each of the 16 directors contributes $1,000 as a non-refundable at risk membership fee to continue plans for an ethanol facility.
January 3, 2002
Fagen, Inc is chosen as the contractor utilizing ICM technology.
January 15, 2002
Articles of Incorporation adopted for Big River Resources Cooperative.
January 18, 2002
West Burlington, IA is chosen as the location.
The "Seed begins to Grow Rapidly" as the first capital fund raising meeting is at Monmouth, Illinois followed by a second meeting at West Burlington, Iowa. The board is reduced to 14 members.
The ethanol project receives a 20-year tax exemption from Des Moines County and tax incentives from Iowa Department of Economic Development to encourage plant location in Iowa. The capital fund raising drive continues.
Nov. 8, 2002, Groundbreaking
¬With the sound of earth moving equipment in the background, over 200 individuals from Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and S. Dakota were present for the ground breaking event.
Representatives from agricultural organizations and local/state agencies were present along with investors and interested public. Since breaking ground, the plant site has been an active place. The weather has been cooperative and much work is being accomplished.
Dec. 5, 2002
As of 12-05-02, Phase I is 90% completed.
This includes - 1 drilled well, Topsoil has been removed and stockpiled at two locations, The fill dirt on the grain handling building is complete and up to elevation, The dirt work is completed for the process building (main building), The roads are 85% complete which includes rock, The dirt work for the railroad spur is 45% complete, The storm pond for rain water is 50% complete, Trenching around the project is 60% complete. Weather permitting, Phase I should be completed in the next week or so. Currently, the project is 2 days ahead of schedule. Phase II will begin and consist of foundation and concrete work.
Escrow is broken. The cooperative gives Fagen, Inc notice to proceed with February as official construction start date and June 21, 2004 as official completion date.
February 28, 2003
Big River Resources, LLC (BRR, LLC) is officially formed.
Big River Resources, LLC elects a seventeen (17) member board to serve with the following officers;
Raymond E. Defenbaugh, President, CEO, Chairman;
Andy Brader, Vice-President;
Les Allen, Treasurer;
Matt Dutton, Secretary.
October 28, 2003
Deborah Green is hired as the first full time employee of BRR, LLC. Her duties as Assistant Controller/Office Manager began out of her home.
The Federal Economic Development Administration grants Big River Resources $500,000 for paving of the road connecting the plant to Beaverdale Road.
December 1, 2003
Big River Resources moves the corporate offices from Monmouth, Illinois to West Burlington, Iowa.
December 31, 2003
The capital equity drive is closed for Big River Resources Cooperative. The equity drive closed with 611 members.
General Manager is employed full time. The coop board size is reduced to 13. The capital equity drive is closed for Big River Resources, LLC.
February 12, 2004
The first Big River Resources Cooperative annual meeting is held at the Burlington Memorial Auditorium.
March 1, 2004
The entire staff began six (6) weeks of training.
April 7, 2004
The "Seed Matures" as the ribbon-cutting ceremony is held. The first ceremonial loads of corn are received at plant. To show the unity between the two states, a load of corn from Illinois and one from Iowa are weighed and dumped simultaneously.
April 12, 2004
The plant begins to officially grind corn, ten (10) weeks ahead of schedule.
April 22, 2004
First delivery of ethanol sold to Riverland FS, an investor in BRR, for sale out of Monmouth & Roseville stations.
First barge load of DDG loaded out of Burlington River Terminal for delivery to Ireland.
First rail cars of ethanol loaded and shipped to California.
First income from sale of ethanol and DDG are received.
September 1, 2005
Purchased Monmouth Grain & Dryer Grain Elevator
Began Mini Upgrade of West Burlington Ethanol Plant.
February 4, 2006
Third annual cooperative meeting held at the Burlington Memorial Auditorium.
July 2006- - - - - -
The holding company was officially formed. The holding company was name Big River Resources, LLC with the West Burlington ethanol facility renamed to Big River Resources West Burlington, LLC.
September 2006- - - - - -
The additional grain storage bins were completed and grain was dumped into them for the first time.
October 5, 2007- - - - - -
Big River Resources West Burlington, LLC receives the Manufacturer of the Year award by the Burlington/West Burlington Chamber of Commerce and its economic development division, Grow Greater Burlington.
December 2007- - - - - -
Big River Resources West Burlington, LLC completes the 92 mgpy name plate capacity project.
December 2007- - - - - -
Big River Resources Galva, LLC signs notice to proceed with Fagen, Inc.
June 1, 2008- - - - - -
The Lincoln Land Rail facility officially became Big River Resources Galva, LLC and is operated by Big River Resources Galva, LLC.
May 2009- - - - - -
The Galva-Uni-Train Rail- Loader Plant Opens adding value through Ethanol, DDGS feed production and corn merchandizing. Eugene Youngquist of Monmouth oversees the operation.
Sept 16, 2009- - - - - -
Big River United Energy, Dyersville, IA begins operation of producing ethanol, DDGS, adding a corn oil extraction system and is overseen by Andy Brader, of Iowa.
February 2010 -----
At the 7th annual meeting the year ended in:
68.6 million bushels corn
192 million gallons ethanol
546 thousand tons DDGS
2.7 million gallons corn oil
February 2011 -----
At the 8th annual meeting the 2010 year showed:
118.6 million bushels of corn,
330 million gallons ethanol,
962 thousand tons DDGS,
4.0 million gallons corn oil.
Debt Reduction: $20.3 million, Acquisitions: $2.8 million
including Martin Grain, 4.5 million bushel grain facilities.
Administrative Offices moved in October to centralize management and financial functions to building on north Gear Ave., West Burlington, IA. (economic long term lease)
Capital Projects $6.5 million
Total Capital: $47.6 million
Inventory Increase: $50 million
Cash Utilization: $97.6 million.
At Galva, BRR exported 45,000,000 gallons with ports on East Coast and Texas.
In 2011, BRR is addressing China's DDGS dumping investigation and is working tiredlessly in the ethanol industry to promote its product including the announcement of ethanol at NASCAR races and in the newly released documentary "FREEDOM" that promotes ethanol and other renewable fuels for U.S. independence from foreign oil.