Poet Biorefining looks to build on first 15 years in Caro

A trailer dumps a load of about 500 bushels of corn at Poet Biorefining in Caro. It takes about five days for the corn to be processed into ethanol at the plant. (Photos by Andrew Dietderich)
A trailer dumps a load of about 500 bushels of corn at Poet Biorefining in Caro. It takes about five days for the corn to be processed into ethanol at the plant. (Photos by Andrew Dietderich)

Fifteen years after its only Michigan plant was built in Caro, Poet Biorefining continues to expand operations while providing much-needed economic stimulus to the entire region.

The company recently completed a $15 million expansion that allows it to process about 20 percent more corn.

Within the next two years, David Gloer, general manager, said another expansion is possible — only about 30 percent of the 112 acres the company owns in Caro have been built out.

The expansion will be dependent on the federal government uncapping the amount of ethanol that can be produced in Caro. The company already has applied for the increase and expects to hear back any day.

If it happens, the entire area stands to benefit.

“This plant creates a lot of economic growth and sustainability to Caro and the Tuscola County economic base,” Gloer said, pointing to Poet’s frequent use of Woody’zzz Hotel, and the Brentwood restaurant for catered meetings as just two examples.

Steve Erickson, executive director, Tuscola County Economic Development Corp., said Poet’s presence in Caro also helps him make the case for other large businesses that may be considering moving into Tuscola County.

“When I’m questioned about businesses that have success here, they’re definitely one that I mention,” Erickson said, adding that the bio-based products produced by Poet are consistent with other clean energy businesses and projects in the region. (Read more)

(This story originally appeared in the March 22, 2017 print edition of The Tuscola County Advertiser and can be read in its entirety online here.)

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