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Our Opinion: The potential is great

October 27, 2001

When we first heard several months ago that a group of local farmers were pursuing plans to make sure sugar cane a staple crop in the Valley, we strongly supported the idea. At the time they were talking about all the possible uses of sugar cane, and how it could be a "green crop" — one not requiring field burnings. They talked about the economic benefit of a sugar cane crop and it sounded good.

Today, it sounds even better.

Those farmers have formed a group called Imperial Bioresources LLC, and they have firm plans that call not only for growing sugar cane but for using the cane to produce ethanol, a valuable fuel resource. Their plans call for expanding the Holly Sugar plant, creating new jobs and adding to the economic development in the Imperial Valley.

All those involved in the project deserve praise because they are forward thinking. Sure, they are likely thinking about a way to increase their own profits, but it is their effort that is going to benefit us all.

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The Imperial Valley has the highest unemployment rate in the state and with that, one of the lowest if not the lowest average income rates. That is nothing new. It's been an ongoing issue in the Valley for many years.

We are fortunate to have people who aren't willing to sit down and just accept that things cannot change. They can. If people are willing to take new steps, to experiment, to expand on the resources that we already have, we can have new development. In the end, we can have jobs for those in need and we can see an improved economy.

The founding of the Imperial Valley came about because a few people had vision. Water started to flow into this desert region because people had vision. Today, we are finding that people still have vision. Those with Imperial Bioresources have shown that same kind of vision, and their efforts are going to benefit future generations.

But, there still is more work to be done. The effort is still just getting started. It will take time, money and a sustained effort to make sugar cane a profitable crop in the Imperial Valley. We wish those with Imperial Bioresources luck in their effort to raise funds and to stay focused on their ultimate goal.

We also urge people in the Imperial Valley to continue to seek out new ways to bring about growth and development. This Valley can have a strong future if people are willing to work hard to achieve it.

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