Valero Aurora Ethanol Plant
One Valero Place
Aurora, SD 57002
(605) 693-6800, main
(888) 693-CORN (2676), toll-free
(605) 693-6850, fax


​Valero's Aurora ethanol plant is located near Aurora, South Dakota, six miles east of Brookings and 60 miles north of Sioux Falls. The biorefinery sits on 420 acres and started ethanol production in November 2003. The facility uses a dry-grind production method and state-of-the-art technology to maintain industry-leading standards in production, safety, product quality and environmental stewardship. Recognized as the ethanol industry's first 100 million-gallon-per-year production facility, the Aurora plant now annually processes approximately 48 million bushels of corn into approximately 135 million gallons of denatured ethanol and 400,000 tons of distiller grains co-products. The biorefinery employs more than 70 full-time personnel.

The entire kernel of corn is converted to ethanol or distillers grains. Ethanol is an environmentally friendly, high-octane renewable fuel produced by fermenting converted corn starch with yeast. It is used as a blending agent with gasoline. Distillers grains are the co-product left after the ethanol is removed from fermented corn mash, and are sold as a valuable livestock feed. Distillers grains are high in protein, fat, vitamins and minerals, making an excellent feed supplement for beef and dairy cattle, swine and poultry. The Aurora plant markets both dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) and modified (or wet) distillers grains with solubles (MDGS).

The plant timeline:

  • June 2001 – Community leaders began working on plans for the plant
  • June 2002 – Brookings County Planning Commission approved a proposal for a 100 million-gallon-per-year ethanol production facility near Aurora, S.D.
  • January 2003 – Construction began
  • November 2003 – Operations began
  • March 2004 – Grand opening celebrated
  • June 2005 – Plant’s capacity increased to 120 million gallons per year
  • November 2008 – Five-year anniversary celebrated
  • April 2009 – Valero closed on purchase of the plant from VeraSun Energy
Community Activities

  • Employees pledged more than $38,000 to local United Way in 2016, for donations in 2017, with company match projected to bring total plant contribution to approximately $58,000
  • Distributed $30,000 to area children’s charities in 2016 from the Valero Texas Open and Benefit for Children, including to Brookings Area Interagency Council, Brookings Outdoor Learning Center (Outdoor Adventure Center of South Dakota), Camp Loves Embrace Inc., Great After-School Place, Make A Wish Foundation of South Dakota, Project Joy, Salvation Army Brookings Unit, Special Olympics South Dakota and Western Community Action Inc.
  • Donated another $10,000 to local organizations from the Valero Energy Foundation during the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2016, and $3,250 from the plant's local budget
  • Held several volunteer events in 2016, logging 2,083 total hours

To Sell Corn
Jack Nelson
Manager-Grains Procurement
Send Email
(605) 693-6820
(888) 693-CORN (2676), toll-free
(605) 693-6850, fax

Lori Drietz
Grains Procurement Rep
Send Email
(605) 693-6819
(888) 693-CORN (2676), toll-free
(605) 693-6850, fax 
To Purchase Distillers Grains
Curt Lundquist
Lead Distillers Grain Sales Rep (Local Truck Sales)
Send Email
(605) 693-6818
(877) 696-8786, toll-free

Allan Assmann
Manager-Distillers Grain Sales (Bulk Rail Sales)
Send Email
(402) 932-5299