The announcement by Vivergo Fuels that it plans to cease production at its Humberside bioethanol plant from the end of September will come as a bitter blow to Yorkshire farm businesses says the NFU in the North East.
Responding to the news, Regional Director Adam Bedford said he was also saddened to hear about the reported job losses. “It’s clear the closure of the plant will have an immediate and lasting impact on everyone associated with it,” he said.
“From a farming perspective, the biofuels market has been a vital outlet for feed-grade wheat across the north, with official estimates suggesting that access to that market added £10/tonne to farmgate prices,” he said.
“The 1.1m tonnes of wheat processed by Vivergo represents a significant proportion of UK feed wheat production and an even higher proportion of Yorkshire’s output.
“As a result, its loss will be keenly felt by growers across our region, whose grain will now have to find its way into other domestic feed wheat markets across the North East.
“The added benefit of the bioethanol process is that its by-product is a ready supply of high protein animal feed that is widely used by dairy and livestock farmers. These businesses will now have to source other feed options, which will inevitably come at a cost.
“Given that the news comes at a time when the industry is already under significant pressure thanks to this year’s weather extremes, this news will come as another body blow.”
Mr Bedford added that the closure of the plant was also detrimental to the wider agri-food economy across Yorkshire and the North East, which remains a significant driver of jobs, growth and investment.