Our farmers and rural communities are the backbone of our country.
I’m Lee Blank, the chief executive officer of Summit Carbon Solutions, and I’ve spent my life working in agriculture. I am writing today to update you about our project and tell you how we will help keep the agriculture and biofuel industries strong for many years.
Our carbon capture and storage project benefits the farmers we are partnering with, the ethanol plants across our project and the communities we touch. We have already secured voluntary easements for more than 70% of our pipeline route in South Dakota.
These partnerships are built on respect and fair compensation. Landowners receive their payment up front. We promise to install the pipeline 4 feet underground, repair any land and drain tile we disturb, and compensate for any crop damage. Farmers can still grow their corn, soybeans or graze cattle as they always have. So far, we have put $75 million directly into the hands of South Dakota landowners and continue to negotiate additional voluntary easements daily.
But our project does more than just pay landowners. We are working with ethanol plants to open new markets and make them more profitable. And when ethanol plants profit, so do farmers and surrounding rural communities. According to a recent report, over the next decade, carbon pipelines are expected to bring over $6 billion of new income to South Dakota.
Sixty-two percent of corn in South Dakota goes into ethanol production. These plants are not just job providers, but community partners, employing contractors and fuelers of local economies.
This project is a big step forward for South Dakota agriculture. It’s not just about making a profit, but about keeping agriculture viable for the long run. This project will not only protect farming’s future, but it will also help our local communities grow.
I’ve seen the strength and spirit of our farming community. With this project, we reaffirm our commitment to you. We promise to be open and answer any questions you have. I am excited for our future and honored to shape it together.
Lee Blank is the CEO for Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solutions.