Minneapolis, March 27 – Forty-one students from Ridgewater College toured Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company (CVEC) in Benson yesterday to learn about an important ethanol co-product, dried distiller’s grains with solubles (DDGS).
“Tours like this educate students on the role ethanol plays in boosting the economy in rural Minnesota and reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions. It also gives them a better understanding on ethanol co-products like DDGS, which is a high-protein animal feed that is increasingly used by poultry, swine, dairy and beef producers,” said Chad Friese, CEO of CVEC.
According to the USDA, one ton of DDGS is equivalent to 1.22 tons of corn and soybean meal. Friese said every bushel of corn used to produce ethanol at CVEC also produces 14 pounds of DDGS.
The students, who were from Ridgewater College’s animal nutrition class, were briefed on the DDGS production process during ethanol production and toured CVEC’s DDGS production and storage units.
CVEC, which has an annual output of 50 million gallons of ethanol, produced 116,331 tons of DDGS last year.
The tour was organized by the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association (MN Biofuels).
“In 2018, Minnesota’s ethanol producers produced 3.8 million tons of DDGS. This was sufficient to meet the annual feed requirements of more than 2.5 million beef and dairy cattle or the entire inventory of cattle and calves in Minnesota,” said Tim Rudnicki, executive director at MN Biofuels.
Ridgewater College’s livestock instructor, Kari Slinden, accompanied her students for today’s tour.
“We learn about feed products in animal nutrition and how DDGS and other products can be used. It’s educational for them to see the process of corn to products and learn about the nutrition of feeding,” she said.
Today’s tour was the second time Slinden has brought her students to CVEC. In April 2018, she brought 35 students to the plant.
“Students really enjoyed the tour last year. They learned a lot about the production of ethanol and by-products they can use to feed their livestock. Students really enjoyed learning about how the distillers and wet cake products are made. Many students were surprised by the number of products that can be made out of ethanol,” she said.
Additionally, Slinden expects many of her students will return to their home farms and work within the agribusiness industry upon graduation and eventually incorporate CVEC’s DDGS into their livestock rations.