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Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Fertilizer plant plans progressing

Company that will use manure from the lake watershed secures state tax credit

By Nancy Allen
CARTHAGENA - Plans are moving forward for a company that wants to set up an $11 million business to make organic fertilizer from local manure.
AG Conversions Ohio, LLC, is among 12 pro-jects approved by the state this week for a tax credit. Amiran Technologies of Oak Creek, Wis., is building the plant and officials expect funding to wrap up soon.
"By Friday or next week, we should have all the funding lined up, based on some other private equity money coming in," spokesperson Paul Chadwick said this week. "Then we will begin (officially) accepting applications."
The company has received a handful of resumes, Chadwick said.
He expects the company to hire 60 employees in management, supervising, chemistry, research and development, quality assurance, accounting, IT, logistics and driving with an average salary of $57,000. The annual payroll is expected to be $3.4 million.
Another 180 indirect jobs, mostly in transportation and warehousing, are expected to follow. Two local spinoff businesses - Ag Trans LLC and Innovative Ag Nutrients LLC - already have formed.
Ag Trans will pick up manure from farms and deliver it to the plant, while Innovative Ag Nutrients will sell and distribute the fertilizer. Ag Trans would handle any payment to farmers for their manure.
"Another impact we didn't factor in is there could be more restaurants, supply stores and other businesses," Chadwick said. "A whole cascading effect that could touch many areas of the community."
The facility, which will be built on 10 acres along U.S. 127 north of state Route 119, would use manure to make custom-blended, organic dry and liquid fertilizer. The conversion process would kill natural pathogens and E. coli; there would be no leftover wastewater.
AG Conversions received a 45 percent, six-year Job Creation Tax Credit through the Ohio Tax Credit Authority. The 12 projects approved this week for tax credits are expected to create 1,580 new jobs and retain 1,936 jobs, a news release from Gov. John Kasich said. The projects are estimated to result in $76.1 million in new payroll and more than $328 million in new capital investment.
Amiran and local officials tout the plant as a way to rid the area of excess animal waste and help restore Grand Lake. The 13,500-acre lake has been plagued by phosphorous-fed toxic blue-green algae blooms the last three summers and lost millions in tourism revenue.
Local officials have been working with Amiran since July. The company demonstrated its technology locally at two separate events.
Amiran officials in the future want to build a plant that turns sediment dredged from Grand Lake into potting soil. Amiran Technologies is headed by Mohsen Amiran, a scientist who has spent 20 years developing the technology.
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