Despite Sarah Lloyd’s attempt to portray herself has a champion for jobs, defender of farmers, and tireless advocate for less dependence on foreign oil, she sought to shut down a project that would have accomplished all three objectives when it was in her backyard. That’s hardly a great track record for a Congressional candidate running in Wisconsin’s 6th District.
When Didion Inc., who already had a milling plant in Cambria, WI, sought to obtain a permit to expand their operation to include a ethanol plant, Sarah Lloyd led the charge against the plant which would have resulted in as many as 40 jobs being created and as much as $177,000 in new taxes to the Village of Cambria, not to mention creating as place for local farmers to sell their corn.
Sarah Lloyd kept a journal detailing her thoughts over several days leading up to the April 1, 2003 referendum that would determine if Didion would be allowed to build the plant within the town limits.
According to her there was a simple reason for opposing ethanol, “A.D.M.” she further explained in her journal:
For those who are not familiar with those three letters, ADM, or Archer Daniels Midland, is a multinational agribusiness that controls at least 40 percent of the ethanol production in this country. In addition, ADM reportedly controls a far more dominant part of the ethanol blending and transportation infrastructure. ADM is not putting up the ethanol plants in Wisconsin, at least not overtly, but they did just buy out the second-largest producer of ethanol, a farmer-owned co-op in Marshall, Minn. (If you’re interested, read more specifics on this buyout and ADM’s control of the ethanol market.)
Evidently the fact it was a large corporation seeking to build was reason enough for Lloyd to oppose the creation of jobs in her town.
Lloyd was instrumental in founding the Cambrian’s for Thoughtful Development; this group used door-to-door flyer delivery, and a large presence at village board meetings to turn residents of the village against the proposed ethanol plant.
While acknowledging that the plant would benefit local farmers Lloyd took issue with exactly how it would affect those farmers. In another journal entry she railed against the “system” that, according to her, was responsible for ruining farmers lives and was the driving force behind the creation of the ethanol plant. She failed to explain however how exactly having a local place to sell corn would destroy farmers.
I guess I’ll start with the farmers since I live in farm country and this has been the most troublesome critique of my stance on ethanol. Farmers are in a terrible situation. The system has failed them. Small family farms are disappearing on a daily basis. This negatively affects families and rural communities. But growing mono-crop commodity corn for a surplus market is part of the system that has brought farmers to the brink. Building a monument to this failed system, in the form of an ethanol plant — or, for that matter, two within two miles of each other — is not my idea of a strategy for the long-term viability of family farms and rural communities.
In the end Lloyd’s campaign only hurt the residents of Cambria as the referendum passed therefore denying Didion, INC the ability to build within the town limits of Cambria. Lloyd’s victory was short lived however as a year later Didion built an ethanol plant just across the road, outside of Cambria’s regulatory control and also outside of their ability to tax.