Governor Bob Holden signed House Bill 289, the Missouri Downtown and Rural Economic Stimulus Act, a new law that will assist with the funding of new public infrastructure for Missouri renewable fuels production facilities.Jefferson City, Missouri, July 9, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] “We appreciate Governor Holden signing House Bill 289 because it will help put in place the critical infrastructure necessary for new farmer-owned ethanol facilities,” said Brent Rockhold, Missouri Corn Growers Association President. “At the same time, the new public infrastructure, such as natural gas pipelines, railroad access or highway improvements, could mean additional value-added business opportunities for corn growers and others in rural Missouri.” Senator David Klindt (R-Bethany) introduced Senate Bill 692, which later became the “rural” provisions of H.B. 289. “We appreciate Senator Klindt, Senator Cauthorn and our other friends in the Missouri General Assembly for their vision as to what ethanol and value-added agriculture can mean to the revitalization of rural Missouri,” said Rockhold. “Also, we offer a special thanks to Representative Tom Dempsey and Senator Sarah Steelman, the bill sponsors, for their support of the rural provisions being added to the bill.” According to a 2002 study by Donald Van Dyne, professor emeritus of the University of Missouri-Columbia, the two current ethanol plants added 1,815 jobs and increased the annual state economic output by US$172.8 million before expansion. The new law is expected to continue the momentum toward a Missouri ethanol industry with five farmer-owned plants, each producing 40 million gallons of ethanol annually. The Van Dyne study documents that with five ethanol plants, the direct and indirect impacts include 8,890 new jobs, and an US$845 million increase in annual state economic output.