[RenewableEnergyAccess.com]Red Trail Energy has received a US$25 million federal Rural Development loan guarantee toward the development of a 50 million gallon-per-year ethanol plant in Richardton, North Dakota. Funding for the project has lagged since its inception, and the Red Trail Board of Directors has extended the funding deadline three times since June of this year. They were trying to raise enough capital to be eligible for federal funding, according to a report from Biobased Information System news services. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded the guarantee, which came from funds appropriated by Congress. Total project cost is estimated at $78 million, and the coal-fired plant could convert 18 to 20 million bushels of corn into ethanol per year. U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgon (D-ND) called the plant project a major step for the state that will harness some of the state’s greatest resources; corn and lignite coal. Project investors continue to raise capital, and hope to start the plant up in late 2005 with about 36 employees and a payroll of $1.5 million.