BDO ZoneCONNECT Webinar: Emporia, Kansas and Conecuh County, Alabama

News and Resources for BDO Zones, Press Release


BDO ZoneCONNECT Webinar:



On June 27, 2024, Ecostrat Inc., in collaboration with TheDigest, hosted the BDO ZoneCONNECT webinar, highlighting two investment grade BDO Zone communities in North America: Emporia, Kansas, rated ‘BBB’ for Corn Stover, and Conecuh County, Alabama, rated ‘A’ for Woody Biomass. 

The webinar was moderated by Jim Lane, Editor of TheDigest, and featured key insights from Aryn Garswood, Head of the BDO Zone Initiative. Participants included Jim Witt from the Emporia Regional Development Association, along with Jessica Dent from the Conecuh County Commission. The discussion highlighted the regions’ preparedness for bio-based projects, focusing on their abundant biomass resources, robust infrastructure, project-ready sites, and attractive local incentives, including favorable tax benefits.

BDO ZoneCONNECT, a joint initiative with The Daily Digest, aims to facilitate connections and stimulate development interest within BDO Zone communities. It serves as a catalyst for networking, sharing new BDO Zone ratings, and attracting a diverse global audience of stakeholders, including investors, bio-based project developers, financiers, and community leaders.


To view the webinar, please click below:


Summary of Presenter Remarks

Bob Lima, Project Director, Ecostrat:
  • “There is no competition for this biomass [in Emporia, KS], most of the crop residue (corn stover) is being used for animal bedding, which presents an opportunity.”
  • “The industrial site we assessed has all the utilities running adjacent to the lots. There is also road infrastructure in place that has access to major highways that will take you to markets from Maryland to California.”

Jim Witt, President, Emporia Regional Development Association:
  • “We have an abundance of natural resources, Emporia, Lyon County and the surrounding 10-15 county region is a hot bed of agricultural production and research.”
  • “In terms of our industrial parks we have park 4, which is 148 acres and is right off highway 50 along with South Park 3 that has all the infrastructure in place.”
  • “For incentives we have a property tax exemption for up to 10 years, along with a sales tax exemption on construction materials. We are a federal opportunity zone as well as a rural opportunity zone.”
  • “In terms of rail we are on the mainline of BNSF, there are a number of spurs available within our community and some close to park 3.”

Bob Kodrzycki, Project Director, Ecostrat:
  • “This [Conecuh County] is an area with a lot of experience as far as the forest products industry and because of this the supply chains are well established.”
  • “Since 2010 the region has consistently increased annual timber production from about 7 million tonnes per year in the BDO Zone to over 10 million tonnes.”
  • “There is excellent infrastructure for large scale bioenergy projects in Conecuh County, the sites we evaluated including the brownfield site have great access to rail.”
  • “The Conecuh County BDO Zone is well suited for large scale projects, they have experience in growing and processing wood and support from the local and state government.”

Jessica Dent, Economic Development Director, Conecuh County Commission:
  • “We are centrally located and positioned for industry, we sit right along I-65 between Montgomery, the capital of Alabama and the Port of Mobile which is one of the fastest growing ports in the United States.”
  • “We have workforce development partners at the local and state level so as you’re looking for employees we have methods to recruit and hire the best and brightest for you.”
  • “The center of the BDO Zone is the former Louisiana Pacific site that is serviced with rail and is 2 miles from I-65. The Castleberry Wood Site was a former wood production site, it sits on 105 acres and is also on the CSX rail line.”

For more information on the Emporia, KS, BDO Zone, click here, and for their slide deck, click here.

For more information on the Conecuh County, AL, BDO Zone, click here, and for their slide deck, click here.

Contact Information:

Jim Witt, BDO Zone Local Development Leader (LDL) and President, Emporia Regional Development Association (

Jessica Dent, BDO Zone Local Development Leader (LDL) and Economic Development Director, Conecuh County Commission (

Aryn Garswood, Head of the BDO Zone Initiative (

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Go Back