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Friesland, WI – April 17, 2015 –– United Wisconsin Grain Producers LLC (UWGP) celebrated its 10th anniversary at its annual shareholder meeting last week. The meeting was recognition of the remarkable impact that the plant and the ethanol industry as a whole has had on the Wisconsin economy.
The plant produces 57 million gallons of ethanol a year, 170,000 tons of high protein livestock feed, and 2 million gallons of corn oil. Its direct and indirect economic impact on the state and local economy is over $400 million per year. It adds nearly 2000 jobs to the regional economy which means about $98 million in wages.
“We started with a handful of farmers and small investors who had a vision, but not much background in what it would take to create and operate a biorefinery,” said UWGP Board Chair Carl Benck. “And with entrepreneurial spirit, prudent decisions, and a little luck, we were able to not only get a plant built, but to see it operate successfully all these years.”
“Our plant represents about 10% of the total economic impact of Wisconsin’s ethanol industry,” said Barb Bontrager, General Manager of the plant. “The industry as a whole adds almost 20,000 jobs and over $4 billion to our state’s economy.”
UWGP utilizes nearly 20 million bushels of corn from local corn growers. “These growers are receiving a premium for their crop, as they don’t have to ship it hundreds of miles to find a market,” said Benck, “and that means more money spent at the implement dealer and with other local businesses.”
Also featured at the annual meeting was Tom Buis, CEO of the national ethanol promotion group – Growth Energy. Buis noted that all across the Midwest, plants like UWGP are making a huge impact on local economies, reducing imports, providing a value for consumers at the pump, and contributing to cleaner air.
“The first ten years have been great,” concluded Bontrager, “but we already have plans to expand and improve our operation. The modern ethanol industry is still in its infancy, we have just begun to see what innovation and American ingenuity can do to harness rural America’s tremendous potential.”