15 ethanol plants in South Dakota generate large amounts of economic activity boosting rural communities all across the eastern half of the state. Those ethanol plants employ more than 900 people who help produce over one billion gallons of clean-burning, renewable corn ethanol.
Those same plants, which are also mostly owned by South Dakotans, purchased over 360 million bushels of corn raised in South Dakota during 2011 providing additional markets to our producers.
But clean-burning fuel isn’t the only product these plants produce. In 2011, South Dakota produced approximately 2.9 million metric tons of distillers grain, a high-protein livestock feed which partially displaces the need for corn and/or soybean meal. DDGs displaced around 26 million bushels of corn for feed last year in South Dakota alone. The state exported around 2.2 million metric tons of the co-product providing feed to nations around the world.
Some plants are also collecting corn oil in the process which can be used in biodiesel production.
As South Dakota continues to grow more and more corn, the ethanol industry will remain an important part of our state creating and sustaining green jobs, competition in the grain markets, livestock feed supplies and a reliable source of clean-burning fuel made right in our own backyard.