Gov. Dave Heineman has proclaimed September as "Renewable Fuels Awareness Month in Nebraska."
The proclamation recognizes the important benefits that ethanol and soy biodiesel bring to farmers, Nebraska citizens and the state's economy. It states that biofuels production is Nebraska's fastest growing industry and cites the numerous economic development and environmental benefits resulting from the use of renewable fuels.
Some of the benefits include increased demand for corn and soybeans, improved net farm income, improved rural economies, creation of new renewable fuels-related jobs, reduced dependence on foreign oil, improved energy security, and reduction of pollutants, including greenhouse gas emissions.
Mark Jagels of Davenport, immediate past-chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board, says the proclamation is another boost for the ethanol industry.
"We still have some work to do in explaining what the ethanol industry means for our rural communities and the state's economy in general, in terms of job development, additional tax revenues, and the value it adds to our corn," Jagels adds. "This proclamation will help us in telling that story to the citizens of Nebraska."
Jagels points out that Nebraska currently has 12 operating ethanol plants, which directly employ nearly 600 people and have created 1,250 indirect jobs. In addition, 10 more ethanol plants are under construction and another 20 or so have been proposed.
In the 12 to 18 months it takes to construct an ethanol plant, approximately 100 additional construction jobs are created in the rural communities.
According to Jagels, Nebraska's corn producers have helped finance the development of much of the ethanol industry in Nebraska. To date, Nebraska corn growers in general have invested approximately $85 million towards the ethanol industry, through a special checkoff to support ethanol development, he adds.
Gregg Fujan of Weston, chairman of the Nebraska Soybean Board, commended Governor Heineman for his leadership in renewable fuels and support of biodiesel.
"With more than 61% of our soybean farmers using biodiesel in their operations, it is clear that they demand a product that can be grown right here in Nebraska," Fujan says. "It is extremely important to reach out beyond our agricultural community on the benefits of renewable fuels."