In honor of National Agriculture Week, we here at the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) would like to say a big "thank you" to farmer-owned ethanol plants. Farmers were some of the first to believe in ethanol and take the risk of building ethanol plants in their local communities with local investment. Would the others who followed in ethanol production have invested in building plants if the farmer-owned ethanol plants hadn't proved successful? Some may have, but I bet many would not.
We did some research into the current ownership structure of U.S. ethanol production and found that farmer-owned plants are still a very important part of the industry. Forty-four of the approximately 200 operating ethanol plants are farmer-owned, or 22 percent. These farmer-owned plants produce nearly 2.5 billion gallons of ethanol annually, representing nearly one-fifth of the industry's total capacity. And many more ethanol plants can be considered "locally owned" because local community members are shareholders in the company.
And regardless of its ownership structure, each ethanol plant benefits its local ag economy through a new market for grain, an improved basis, and the availability of distillers grain as livestock feed. Not to mention the benefits to the economy at large of good jobs, increased tax revenues, and so on. So, as you celebrate National Agriculture Day, be sure to thank a farmer for the food on your plate, as well as the fuel in your tank! Read ACE's full statement here.