I read, with great interest, the “Agriculture built Aberdeen” column of the Farm Forum (May 3). I am on the Board of Directors of Glacial Lakes Corn Processors, the parent of the Mina and Watertown ethanol plants. I want to point out some facts related to the four large ethanol plants (Mina, Aberdeen, Redfield, and Groton) annually producing more than 320 million gallons of ethanol and nearly 1 million tons of distillers grains, a superb animal feed, within a 45 minute drive of Aberdeen! The total investment in those plants roughly ten years ago would have been in the neighborhood of $400 million. They are estimated to employ over 200 persons and have an annual economic impact well over $1 billion. All of this before we consider the continuous reinvestment in improvements and upgrades that likely reach $25 plus million per year! All of this coupled with the new AGP soybean plant and the DemKota Ranch Beef packing plant proves that agriculture is crucial to the success of all businesses in the area!
Unless we all use the products that come from our fields, such as higher ethanol blends like E30, we are not fully supporting our local industries and producers. Renewable, clean-burning (with no cancer causing benzene, toluene or xylene octane boosters), higher octane, and lower cost ($5-10 dollars per tank) — consumers can’t go wrong. Plus, our local farmers won’t get better margins in any other way other than using higher blends of ethanol. The economic vitality for Aberdeen, all of South Dakota, and our rural Midwest, for that matter, depends on higher ethanol blends as well as the ag processing facilities that call Aberdeen home. Now is the time to shop local because the toxins put in gasoline by the petroleum companies is harmful to us in more ways than one!