Lew Dirkzwager grew up in Benson County, North Dakota. His great grandfather was pioneer in Benson Co. and his family has deep roots there. He’s watched as the farming community has changed and suffered as gas prices skyrocket and farm land is swallowed up. He’s on the verge of doing something that will help the community.
Dirkzwager is going into the biodiesel business. He’s bought an abandoned school in Benson County. The property will be the home of Benson County’s first biodiesel plant. He’s got the backing of his father. The two of them have plunked down $200,000 to get the venture off the ground and expect to spend $1,000,000 when they hit full production.
Why is Dirkzwager taking on this challenge when it’s costing him so much? He’s been frustrated by the loss of farming in the area and the rising cost of our dependence on foreign oil. He has been learning about biodiesel and thinks this is the solution for Benson County.
His dream is create jobs and fuel for the farming community. First, he will be employing people from Benson County to run the plant. Second, the fuel they create will be sold to farmers at a cheaper rate than gasoline. Third, the local farmers will be encouraged to grow crops that produce the oil needed to create biodiesel fuel. So, with one venture Dirkzwager will make the farmers money by buying their crops, create jobs for those not working on the farms, and provide a cheaper source of fuel to run their farming equipment.
Dirkzwager has done alot of research into running a biodiesel plant. If all goes well, there will be almost zero waste. The parts that cannot be used for fuel will be used to create electricity for the plant or used for other purposes. So, not only will the plant help the community economically, it’s impact on the environment will be minimal. Biodiesel won’t be the answer for every community, but this just shows that one person can affect change. (Now if we can just get out politicians inspired!)
Here’s an article on Lew Dirkzwager and his biodiesel dream: Biodiesel Plant to be Built at York