Guest Post: Ag’s Contribution to a Sustainable Future


Nov 27, 2019

Farmers are true stewards of the land.

As a farmer in Radcliff, Iowa, Brett Handsaker implements sustainability practices like using manure management plans on his family’s farm. “We have to take care of the land so the land will take good care of us,” Handsaker says.

Handsaker delivers grain to one of POET’s bioprocessing plants in nearby Jewell, Iowa, and feels a commonality with POET because of a shared mission.

The Handsakers implement sustainability practices on the family’s farm in Radcliff, Iowa.

POET, the world’s top producer of biofuels, is built on similar values of stewarding the earth and its resources. Biofuels producers are building a more sustainable future for generations to come through the creation of biofuels like ethanol and bioproducts that displace products derived from petroleum. Biofuels play a critical role in reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and in addressing one of the most challenging issues of our time—climate change.

Lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Ethanol uses corn in its production to help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 110 million metric tons, the equivalent of taking 20 million vehicles off the road each year.

Biofuel from starch has 43 percent lower GHG emissions than traditional gasoline. When combined with innovations in feedstocks and technologies, that number reaches as high as 95 percent.

Innovative Co-Products

Since the company’s origins in 1987, POET has continued to find and implement cost-effective ways to use every ounce from every bushel of corn. The starch is used to produce ethanol, and POET uses the remaining co-products—protein, fat and fiber—from the corn kernel to produce bioproducts such as the following:


By using a greener asphalt rejuvenation product, like POET’s JIVE, asphalt manufacturers can use more recycled asphalt, offering them a more environmentally friendly and lower-cost alternative.

Food and Feed

Biofuels producers use the leftover solids from the ethanol production process to create products varying from syrups to nutrient-dense animal feed.

Environmental Stewardship Practices

Developing efficient, sustainable practices is a priority for agriculture and biofuels alike. Technological developments over the years have led to new, innovative practices that allow us to be good stewards of the land.

New initiatives have allowed POET to cut its energy use by 30 percent since 2001 and by 50 percent since 1988. POET bioprocessing facilities implement four environmental stewardship practices:

Combined Heat and Power

By using a steam turbine to generate electricity and recovering waste energy from the turbine to meet other energy demands, POET reduces greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on electrical energy.

BPX Technology

POET’s patented plant-wide process converts starch to sugar with enzymes instead of heat. The process reduces energy use in each plant by 8 to 15 percent, which translates to less natural gas consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Carbon Capture

POET captures the carbon dioxide that is a byproduct of the ethanol production process and liquifies it for transportation to market instead of releasing it into the atmosphere.

Total Water Recovery

POET recycles water used in the plant instead of discarding it, allowing POET plants to require on average less than 2.5 gallons of water per gallon of ethanol.

Similar to biofuels, many farmers are committed to sustainability. As you plan ahead, consider additional ways to steward the natural systems and resources your farm relies on.

To learn more about POET's commitment to sustainability, visit

Connect with POET at Farmer2Farmer V

Heading to Omaha for Farmer2Farmer V on December 11-13? Attend the POET-sponsored lunch-and-learn session on Thursday, December 12, to see ways your operation can work alongside POET for a more sustainable future.

The views expressed in this article are the author's alone and not those of Farmer's Business Network, Inc., its affiliates or members.


Nov 27, 2019