ST. PAUL -- US BioEnergy Corporation has acquired an option to purchase land for an ethanol plant and an option to purchase Heartland Co-op's grain elevator near Hayland, Neb.

US BioEnergy is evaluating numerous site location criteria to determine whether the proposed site is suitable for the construction and operation of a 100 million gallon per year (mgy) ethanol plant. US BioEnergy's site location criteria include access to an abundant supply of corn, access to multiple modes of transportation for corn, ethanol and distillers grains, availability of a sufficient amount of water that is of suitable quality, availability of natural gas and other necessary utilities and infrastructure, and access to a qualified labor force.

In addition, US BioEnergy and Heartland Co-op have formed a joint venture to procure all of the corn that would be consumed at US BioEnergy's proposed ethanol facility in Hayland, NE. Heartland has also granted US BioEnergy an option to purchase all of the corn sold by Heartland, except for 10 million bushels that Heartland has reserved for its existing customers, and the corn sold to the joint venture.

"We believe that this unique relationship with Heartland Co-op will be good for Heartland and US BioEnergy. We look for opportunities to support existing agricultural infrastructure and will work together to lessen the country's dependence on foreign oil through the power of the American farmer," said Gordon Ommen, CEO and chairman.

Heartland Co-op president, Bob Boyd said, "Ethanol has changed the landscape over the past few years, and Heartland is committed to playing an active role in the ethanol arena. This is one way for us to do this."

The proposed plant near Hayland would be a 100 mgy natural-gas-fired, dry-grind ethanol facility. A plant of this size typically consumes approximately 36 million bushels of corn and produces 320,000 tons of dried distillers grains annually. Once operational, a facility of this size would likely employ more than 40 people.

US BioEnergy Corporation is a producer and marketer of ethanol and distillers grains. The company currently owns and operates three ethanol plants and has four additional ethanol plants under construction. Upon completion of these initiatives, the company will own and operate seven plants with combined expected ethanol production capacity of 600 million gallons per year.

SOURCE: US BioEnergy Corp. via Business Wire.