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  • By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media

Iowa’s Summit Agriculture Group Breaks Ground on Brazil’s First Corn Ethanol Plant

Iowa-based Summit Agriculture Group broke group on the first large-scale corn ethanol production plant in Brazil. The $115 million facility, which will be located in Lucas do Rio Verde in Mato Grosso – Brazil’s largest corn and soybean producing state, is an international partnership between Summit Agriculture Group the Brazilian agribusiness, Fiagril, and Summit’s investment partners - Tiger Infrastructure partners and Laverack Capital Partners.

The plant, which will be the only dedicated corn ethanol plant in the country, is expected to be the most modern and efficient plant of its kind in the world, producing 60 million gallons of corn ethanol per year upon completion of construction in mid-2017. This plant is also expected to help Brazil meet its rising demand for domestic ethanol – something that the country’s sugarcane ethanol industry is unable to meet alone.

Brazil began sugarcane ethanol production in the 1970s, and today is responsible for a quarter of the world’s ethanol, according to Green Car Congress. However, the Bank of America estimates that yearly Brazilian ethanol sales could top 13.5 gallons in 2022 – two thirds more than the country’s ethanol production forecast for 2016.

Production at the plant will also be able to provide high fiber and high protein co-products to the Brazilian livestock industry. At the end of June 2015, Brazil began shipping beef to China, and in five months shipped 81,300 tons worth US$401.2 million according to industry body, ABIEC. In the same year, Brazil saw the re-opening of markets including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iraq. Looking to 2016, Brazil expects China to become the biggest importer of Brazilian beef, creating a market worth US$1.3 billion.

“That’s why today’s ground breaking at this facility is so important – it will open many new doors for the future of agriculture in Mato Grosso and throughout Brazil,” noted Justin Kirchhoff, investment development manager for Summit.

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