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Ethanol producers propose merger

The boards of Lake Area Corn Processors, LLC, its wholly-owned subsidiary, Dakota Ethanol, LLC, and Countryside Renewable Energy, Inc. announced this week that they have entered into a non-binding letter of intent to merge Dakota Ethanol into Countryside.

The proposed merger, which is subject to certain conditions, contemplates that Lake Area will exchange 100% of its ownership in Dakota Ethanol for a combination of cash and membership/ownership interests (units) of Countryside, which would then may be distributed to Lake Area's members in the future.

"Dakota Ethanol was a leader in the ethanol industry when we started eight years ago. We've been successful, but we also know that our members are always looking to move forward," Dakota Ethanol board member Brian Woldt says. "We have entered into this process with Countryside to become part of a larger ethanol production organization which we believe will help us to improve profitability, our competitive position and our long-term prospects."

Countryside Chairman John Pappajohn says "Dakota Ethanol is widely respected across the industry and we are thrilled that they have elected to become Countryside's founding plant. Their decision to merge with Countryside proves the attractiveness of our model and will, we believe, lead other plants to join."

"Countryside was organized for the purpose of consolidating independent, largely farmer-owned, ethanol plants into a larger, more sustainable organization," notes Countryside CEO David Miles. "With the industry changing quickly and dominant players emerging, it is vitally important that ethanol producers have a strategic choice other than selling out or going it alone. Today we take an important first step toward providing an attractive alternative to owners of ethanol plants."

The boards of Lake Area Corn Processors, LLC, its wholly-owned subsidiary, Dakota Ethanol, LLC, and Countryside Renewable Energy, Inc. announced this week that they have entered into a non-binding letter of intent to merge Dakota Ethanol into Countryside.

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