By Nancy Hohbach, Correspondent
Renewable fuel usage is gaining momentum as the fuel prices elevate at the pump. The Galva-Holstein Ag LLC have been strong supporters of ethanol as the group, along with individuals and other businesses, own shares in the Quad County Corn Processors.
The Galva-Holstein Ag has built a brand new station across the road from the Quad County Corn Processors ethanol plant, south of Galva, featuring the E85 fuel.
According to manager Delayne Johnson, it is the first such station within a 45 mile radius to offer the E85. Ethanol is blended with 15 percent gasoline. E85 is used in flex fuel vehicles (FFV). Many people do not understand whether their vehicle can utilize E85 so a web site has been set up which will explain how the fuel operates and what vehicles may use it by giving a vehicle identification number. The web site is E85fuel.com.
On the day of the grand opening of the station, one day only, E85 sold for 85 cents a gallon. Many people wanted to fill their tanks to take advantage of the opportunity.
Johnson commented, "E85 runs about 30 cents less a gallon than the super no-lead gasoline. There is a some difference on mileage. It goes a mile or two less per gallon yet this new fuel has an economic advantage with the price being that much less. The cooperative maintains a close relationship with the ethanol plant and we want to work closely with it as it provides a good market for the farmer's grain. Galva-Holstein Ag, as a business, owns shares in the plant in addition to individual farmers owning shares in the plant. It makes sense that we do what we can to help create markets for ethanol so we put up the E85 station. It should be a boost to our economy here."
The cooperative already has a fuel station on the north edge of Holstein and later this year, they hope to add E85 at that station. Their membership has enlarged in recent months with the addition of Battle Creek and Ida Grove cooperatives' sites in Sept. 2004. This growth also lent support to build a retail E85 fuel station which will sell the economically and environmentally friendly fuel.
In addition, Galva-Holstein Ag has also added grain capacity and a liquid tank for it's Golden Brand feed product.
"The enlarged service area has kept our numbers growing. Our sales have always kept increasing over the prior years which makes this a strong cooperative," said Johnson.
"We also wanted to have high speed Internet service for our business so we created "Rural Waves". "Rural Waves" covers the communities of Early, Schaller, Galva, Holstein, Washta, Correctionville and Battle Creek. It's going good for us," explained Johnson.
Higher grain and livestock prices have given producers a boost. Although fuel prices are high, farmers try to be frugal managers. With fuel costs rising, they are happy to use their grain for fuel to add efficiency to the bottom line.