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Frederick County farm roasts soybeans, partners with firm

June 19, 2007

Frederick County Commissioners Jan Gardner, David Gray and Kai Hagen joined representatives from the Office of Economic Development, the Business Development Advisory Council and other partner agencies to tour Windridge Farm in Adamstown, Md., recently.

Hosting the visit were Robert and Jeremy Butz with Windridge Farm along with representatives from Chesapeake Green Fuels and Petroleum Marketing Group.

Windridge Farm, founded in 1954 by Thompson H. Butz, was originally in Germantown, Md, but is now in southern Frederick County.

In addition to crop farming, Windridge offers its services to many local farmers through roasting of the farmers' soybeans, said Colby Ferguson, business development specialist in agriculture with the Frederick County economic development office.

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"The roasting process changes the form of the protein in the soybean to a type that is more highly digestible by dairy cows, which helps improve the quality and quantity of milk produced," Ferguson said.

Along with the traditional types of agriculture, Windridge has moved into the research, development and potential sales of bio-diesel.

With the rising cost of diesel fuel, Windridge wanted to produce a renewable fuel and thus decrease their fuel costs.

So it partnered with Eric Franzoi to create Chesapeake Green Fuels, LLC. Chesapeake has been working for the past year to research and develop ways to produce bio-diesel not only from soybean oil but also from poultry fat.

Becuse the poultry fat can be purchased at a lesser cost than producing soybean oil, "the poultry fat concept looks to be the most cost effective for the company," Ferguson said.

He said Chesapeake plans to keep its research and development operation at the farm, but it is planning to build a large bio-diesel plant in Baltimore within the next year.

With the new plant and partnership with Petroleum Marketing Group , Chesapeake will be able to supply petroleum stations in Baltimore with 100 percent bio-diesel (B100) to blend with petroleum diesel, Ferguson said.

"This will be a milestone in Maryland, because now the major distributors of diesel will have a local and reliable source of bio-diesel to blend and sell to the Maryland region," he said.

For more info, contact Windridge Farm online at www.windridgefarm.com or the Office of Economic Development at 1-301-600-1058.

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