Iowa Utilities Board Members,

I am writing to you today to highlight the importance of carbon capture technology and its impact on the ethanol and agriculture industries. Back in the early 2000s, I was part of the founding of Siouxland Energy Cooperative in Sioux Center, Iowa. Our goal at the ‘me was to add value to corn produced in Iowa by processing it in Iowa and raise the value of corn from $2 per bushel to $3. Now, almost two decades later, Iowa farmers can now sell for around $6.50 per bushel. This is in large part due to the purchasing demand of Iowa ethanol plants. 

With over 50% of corn being sold to an ethanol plant each year, it is critically important to our farmers that we support the ethanol industry. Our rural farming communities rely on the local ethanol plants to purchase their corn at a competitive price. Should these plants decrease in production, our farmers will face the prospect of shipping their crop out of state to another ethanol plant or settling for a lower price at a grain elevator just like in the early 2000s. 

On top of the market for corn, ethanol plants support the cattle, swine, and poultry industries through the production of feed and supplement co-products. The use of distiller’s corn oil (ethanol co-product) is also a feedstock for facilities that produce renewable diesel, jet fuel, and naptha gasoline.

Carbon capture and sequestration will open the door for Iowa ethanol plants to compete in the low-carbon fuel market. This expanding market is paying a premium for qualifying fuel options, and if Iowa ethanol wants to remain competitive in the decades to come, it is critical that they are on the forefront of this new market.

Bernie Punt