United Cooperative, based out of Beaver Dam, Wis., is a full-service cooperative offering feed, grain, agronomy, and energy products and services to Wisconsin farmers and consumers.
Prior to 2005, United Cooperative took beginning steps toward making the cooperative’s involvement in ethanol production a reality. United Cooperative would be the managing member of United Ethanol, LLC, an ethanol production facility with a 60,000,000-gallon-per-year permit to be constructed in Milton, Wis. President and chief executive officer was, and still is, David A. Cramer, also president and chief executive officer of United Cooperative.
In May 2005, United Cooperative began looking for investors. Members of United Cooperative were eligible to purchase class A units, and class C units were offered to other accredited investors who were Wisconsin residents. All together, the two types of shares totaled 3,000,000 units at $10 per unit. United Cooperative held 50 fundraising meetings, and the equity needed for the project was raised in just 90 days from 441 investors -- all Wisconsin residents. Seven investors would sit on the board with Cramer serving as treasurer. Construction began in 2005 using Delta-T technology due to production history of Delta-T facilities and because their design does NOT discharge any process wastewater at the end of production.
United Ethanol began operating on March 29, 2007, and is producing approximately 2.8 gallons of ethanol, 18 pounds of distiller’s grain, and 18 pounds of carbon dioxide from one bushel of corn. On top of generating fuel that helps to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and making the air we breathe cleaner, United Ethanol converts approximately 45,000 bushels of corn per day and produces about 3,900,000 gallons of ethanol per month, further supporting American farmers. In 2010, United Ethanol produced more than 123,000 tons of dry distiller’s grain and more than 8,000 tons of wet distiller’s grain, both highly valuable feed co-products of ethanol production.
About 15 percent of the corn used to make ethanol at United Ethanol comes from cropland around Milton, and the remainder is originated via the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad from rail facilities including United Cooperative’s Ripon, Horicon, and Rock Springs grain elevators. Some of the distiller’s grain from the ethanol production process is sold locally, but the majority is exported.
In 1974, the average U.S. yield was 71.9 bushels of corn per acre. With today’s seed technology and modern agronomy practices, it was 165.2 in 2009. Predictions from some seed technology providers of trend line yields are as high as 300 bushels-per-acre by 2030. This will allow American crop growers to continue providing enough corn for both feed and fuel to Americans and the World.
United Ethanol has three bins that offer storage for 1,770,000 bushels of grain, allowing us to buy grain when the market dictates the timing is right and store it, in turn improving our profitability. Two of the three bins were part of the initial building process, and the third grain bin was constructed in 2007.
A carbon dioxide (CO2) processing facility was constructed in 2007/2008 and came on line May 15, 2008. United Ethanol signed a contract with EPCO Carbon Dioxide, Inc. for the purchase of approximately 250 tons per day of our CO2 production. In ethanol production, CO2 is a byproduct of fermentation. The CO2 recovered through the liquefaction plant is sold for use in the food processing, beverage, oil recovery, municipal water treatment, and chemical industries. In 2009, United Ethanol sold approximately 46,000 tons of CO2.
Starting in early 2011, United Ethanol incorporated corn oil extraction, which provides another stream of income, cuts overall energy costs, and improves the flowability of the distiller's grain.
The Board of Managers
The current board of managers for United Ethanol includes Steve Knoebel, chairman; Duane Hinchley, vice chairman; Anthony Schadt, secretary; David Cramer, treasurer; Jim Shelton, director; Mark Farrell, director; Christopher Seitz, director; and Bob Weiland, director.
United Ethanol has an economic impact to the community of Milton with $15 million of taxable property, 35 high quality jobs, increased activity for local business, especially trucking companies, and as mentioned earlier, United Ethanol sells wet and dry distiller’s grain locally for livestock feed.
As ethanol production technology improves, United Ethanol management and staff are always looking for ways to better efficiencies and save money. The facility continues to produce ethanol at a preferred capacity level and looks forward to a bright future.
Click here for current United Ethanol leadership.
To be a low-cost producer of ethanol and distiller's grains, allowing the company to maximize the returns for our investors and provide economic benefits to Wisconsin communities