POET Donates $250,000 to South Dakota Ag Foundation

Sioux Falls, SD - March 20, 2018 – At a time when agriculture is facing economic challenges, POET is backing efforts to grow the industry in South Dakota through a $250,000 donation to the South Dakota Ag Foundation.

The donation was announced at a press conference today, Ag Day 2018, at POET’s headquarters with Gov. Dennis Daugaard and SD Ag Foundation President Nate Franzen and Executive Director Chris Maxwell. 

The money will go toward a challenge for the foundation to raise $4 million over the next five years. 

Gov. Daugaard announced that the state is matching donations 1:4 to add an additional $1 million to that total.

“Agriculture drives this state and every community in it,” Broin said. 

“This effort to promote ag education, market development, research and more is crucial for the future of South Dakota. 

"We are proud that biofuels have provided the primary avenue for growth in ag markets over the last two decades, and they will play a vital role in helping farmers recover from the hardship they face today. 

"We want to do whatever we can to help our farmers and future generations of farmers succeed.”

Gov. Daugaard also pointed to agriculture’s prominent role in South Dakota’s culture and economy.

“We take pride in agriculture here in South Dakota, and to see SD Agricultural Foundation’s commitment to invest in the future of agriculture is commendable,” Daugaard said. 

“This challenge will ensure growth in the industry, while highlighting the need for philanthropy in agriculture.”

Broin also spoke to the challenges facing agriculture today and how farmers and the biofuels industry must work together to improve the rural economy.

“Today we are working to make E15 a nationwide, year-round fuel for all drivers. 

"This will inject new life into rural South Dakota communities,” Broin said. 

“In fact, if you look at the supply and demand data for worldwide commodities, it becomes obvious that in the future, farmers are going to need an ever-increasing percentage of consumers’ gas tanks.”

POET is the largest company in South Dakota, with six biofuel facilities in the state and 28 in the Midwest, plus its headquarters in Sioux Falls.

The company’s combined impact on South Dakota alone includes more than $2 billion in business revenues, $384.4 million in household earnings and creating or supporting more than 4,500 jobs.

Since its inception in 2016, the SD Ag Foundation has raised close to half a million dollars.

This year, the industry-led, nonprofit organization is supporting 23 organizations involved in youth ag education across South Dakota with grants totaling $34,165.

Programs supported by the Ag Foundation include SD Ag in the Classroom, which provides interactive, digital ag education materials for South Dakota schools. 

They also support activities from local FFA, 4-H and other groups and provide grants for innovation and leadership programs for South Dakota youth.

For more information, please contact Matt Merritt at 605965-2225 or matt.merritt@poet.com