Farmers in central Ohio are welcoming the expansion of POET Biorefining, saying it will increase demand for local grains, create new jobs and stimulate the overall economy in rural Ohio.
In August, POET broke ground on a $120 million expansion of its ethanol plant in Marion. The company said it was expanding its production capacity from 70 million gallons per year to 150 million gallons per year. Production of dried distillers grain will increase from 178,000 tons annually to 360,000 tons. The project is expected to be completed later next year.
“The expansion will allow for central Ohio to continue to be a really strong competitive grain market. The corn market here is probably 15 to 30 cents higher than other parts of the state. It’s an overall gain for the community,” said Karl Wedemeyer, Marion County Farm Bureau president.
POET said the expansion will result in 225 temporary construction jobs and 18-21 new permanent ones. The county Farm Bureau has a good relationship with the biorefinery, Wedemeyer said. POET has been a strong supporter of Farm Bureau, and all three of its plants in Ohio participate in OFBF’s group membership program.
“In recent years, I know farmers are struggling with low commodity prices, which is creating lower farm incomes and decreasing land values,” said POET CEO Jeff Broin. “Biofuels have been the only real growth sector for ag commodities in the past decade.”
Benefits of a group membership
POET is one of several businesses that participate in Ohio Farm Bureau’s group membership program. Group members (employers) purchase five or more individual memberships, giving individuals access to Farm Bureau member benefits. Group memberships are good investments for employers because membership helps employees better understand agriculture and their farmer customers while supporting Farm Bureau’s work to advance all of agriculture.
Caption: Karl Wedemeyer, Marion County Farm Bureau president