Iowa ethanol leader, farmer says fuel production is more sustainable than years ago

Modern technology and practices are helping produce more with fewer inputs, and it’s not just in the farm field. 

Dave Sovereign with Golden Grain Energy in Iowa says ethanol production practices have advanced dramatically since the plant opened in 2004. “Our efficiencies have changed so drastically. The amount of gallons we get from a bushel of corn has increased so much, and along with that, our energy usage and our water usage has dropped incredibly.”

Sovereign told Brownfield during the National Ethanol Conference the ethanol industry is two or three generations beyond their early technology, and they’re getting more ethanol while protecting the environment. “There are active environmentalists but we’re environmental activists out here, so that’s important. We can lose sight of that, and when we live and work in these communities, we want them to have the cleanest water and the best air that we possibly can.”

Sovereign is also a cow-calf producer who sells corn to the ethanol plant, and says low-carbon programs are an opportunity, “not only for the ethanol plants but also for producers and I think they can work together hand in hand to really capitalize and benefit all of our rural communities through these low=carbon policies that are developing.”

He says Golden Grain Energy has about 900 local investors and produces 120 million gallons of ethanol a year. 

Dave Sovereign from Golden Grain Energy discusses technology and carbon opportunities with Brownfield’s Larry Lee at the 2022 National Ethanol Conference

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