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West Central Minnesota's energy goals on display in St. Paul

Steve Renquist, executive director of the Kandiyohi County and Willmar Economic Development Commission, left, talks Tuesday with Sen. Michael Jungbauer, center, and Steve Nelson of Enviornmental Well and Septic at the state Capitol in St. Paul. Tribune photo by Don Davis

ST. PAUL -- A Capitol display of west central Minnesota energy and other technology-related accomplishments was not crowded Tuesday, but participants declared it a success.

"All you have to do is talk to one person and it's all worthwhile," said Steve Miller of North American Fertilizer in Benson.

Miller's organization makes fertilizer from poultry waste and wood chips.

Added engineer Stan Simon of Kerkhoven: "You kind of give them a whirlwind tour."

Steve Renquist, executive director of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission, said about 200 legislators and Capitol workers looked over exhibits 25 people brought for 12 organizations.

He said he probably will recommend to his board that the group return. Several regions make it an annual tradition to visit the Capitol to promote regional needs, such as St. Cloud, Duluth-St. Louis County, Bemidji and Rochester.

Renquist said the group is promoting an 18-country renewable energy corridor in the area, but that may need to wait until next year's legislative session.

Sen. Joe Gimse, R-Willmar, suggested the idea of erecting displays at the Capitol.