We are proud to see that Virginia is now home to the largest ethanol plant on the East Coast. Over the next three years, the Vireol ethanol facility in Hopewell plans to employ 70 workers, produce 170 million gallons of ethanol and spend $100 million to purchase 21.7 million bushels of grain from Virginia farmers.
The plant will produce high-quality ethanol to be blended with gasoline – producing an in-state fuel source that will keep Virginians’ dollars in the commonwealth. Another major co-product of ethanol production is dried distiller grains (DDGs), a high-protein feed ingredient, sought out by poultry and livestock producers. Ethanol production only removes the starch from the kernel of corn, leaving the protein and most of the nutritional value intact. Each bushel of processed corn produces 2.8 gallons of ethanol and 17 pounds of distillers grains.
In Virginia alone ethanol creates $1.9B in economic output, 12,417 jobs, $484M in wages and $129.9M in taxes, and these numbers are set to grow due to the new production. But, ethanol is not just as a source of jobs, income and fuel to Virginia, but a way to lower consumer costs at the fuel pump. The use of ethanol in gasoline has reduced consumer gasoline costs by an average of 89 cents a gallon, all without interrupting the supply of feed grains to livestock and poultry producers.
Our regards go to Vireol for choosing to operate in Virginia. We look forward to continued opportunities for Virginia’s grain, livestock and poultry producers to partner to provide Virginian’s with reliable and affordable food, fuel and fiber.
William Bushong is a livestock and grain producer in Woodstock, Va.