The ethanol project started in November 2002 with PCED researching the feasibility of such a project in our area. Upon doing preliminary studies, tours of plants, and networking with multiple industry specialists, it was concluded to proceed with an official feasibility study in April 2003. PCED decided to proceed by hiring BBI International to do a feasibility study for an ethanol plant location in Phillips County. The funds for the feasibility study fee were raised from local sources and the study was completed in August 2003, reporting that Phillips County fit into the excellent category for an ethanol plant. The PCED staff organized a public meeting in September of 2003 with a 12 person panel to answer questions from the residents and to evaluate a consensus of direction for the project based off of their discussions. With a positive feasibility study and public support, plans to start development of an ethanol business entity, began to take shape with an initial 20 individuals & businesses providing at-risk funds to use as a catalyst in start-up funds.
In January of 2004, Prairie Horizon Agri-Energy, LLC. (PHAE) http://www.prairiehorizon.com/newsletters.htm was formed and an official election of board members took place. Immediately, the seven member board hired BBI International to provide guidance through the development stages and the equity drive. Ed Stahl from BBI International became the project manager to assist with the project up to financial completion. A timetable of activities was created for PHAE to use as a guide to complete the financial and administrative side of this project up to construction. The first equity drive finished raising development funds up to 1 million dollars in May 2004. The second equity drive, which started in July 2004, focused on raising capital for the construction side of the project. On October 14, 2005, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for Prairie Horizon Agri-Energy, LLC with many dignitaries in attendance. During the construction phase, many changes occurred in and around the site, but the PHAE board continued to diligently work on key issues of development for this business. The grand opening of the plant was held on September 23, 2006, with public guided tours of the site continuing all day long for citizens and interested individuals.
A year later, the excitement of having an ethanol plant within our county is continuing. The local and regional economy benefits both directly and indirectly from its operations and its community involvement through its management and employee leadership.