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these final regulations grandfather our plants at their current operating capacity, though expansion of our plants will need to
meet a threshold of a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas, or GHG emissions from a 2005 baseline measurement to produce
ethanol eligible for the RFS 2 mandate. In order to expand capacity at our plants, we may be required to obtain additional
permits, install advanced technology, or reduce drying of certain amounts of distillers grains.
Separately, the California Air Resources Board, or CARB, has adopted a Low Carbon Fuel Standard, or LCFS, requiring
a 10% reduction in GHG emissions from transportation fuels by 2020. An Indirect Land Use Change component is included
in this lifecycle GHG emissions calculation, though this standard is being challenged by numerous lawsuits. On December
29, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California issued several rulings in federal lawsuits challenging
the LCFS. One of the rulings preliminarily prevents CARB from enforcing these regulations during the pending litigation. On
January 23, 2012, CARB unsuccessfully attempted to appeal these rulings in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District
of California and on January 26, 2012 filed another appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Part of our business is regulated by environmental laws and regulations governing the labeling, use, storage, discharge
and disposal of hazardous materials. Our agribusiness operations are subject to government regulation and regulation by
certain private sector associations. Production levels, markets and prices of the grains we merchandise are affected by federal
government programs, which include acreage control and price support programs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or
USDA. In addition, grain that we sell must conform to official grade standards imposed by the USDA. Other examples of
government policies that can have an impact on our business include tariffs, duties, subsidies, import and export restrictions
and outright embargos.
We also employ maintenance and operations personnel at each of our ethanol plants. In addition to the attention that we
place on the health and safety of our employees, the operations at our facilities are governed by the regulations of the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA.
Employees
As of December 31, 2011, we had 665 full-time, part-time and temporary or seasonal employees. At that date, we
employed 100 people, including 44 employees of our subsidiary, Green Plains Trade Group LLC, at our corporate office in
Omaha, 152 employees at our agribusiness operations, 5 employees at BlendStar and the remainder at our nine ethanol
plants.
Available Information
Our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to
those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange
Act) are available free of charge on our website at
www.gpreinc.com
as soon as reasonably practicable after we file or furnish
such information electronically with the SEC. Also available on our website in our corporate governance section are the
charters of our audit, compensation, and nominating committees, and a copy of our code of conduct and ethics that applies to
our directors, officers and other employees, including our Chief Executive Officer and all senior financial officers. The
information found on our website is not part of this or any other report we file with or furnish to the SEC.
The public may read and copy any materials we file with the SEC at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street,
NE, Washington, DC 20549. The public may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling
the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. The SEC also maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements,
and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC at
http://www.sec.gov
.
Item 1A. Risk Factors.
We operate in an evolving industry that presents numerous risks. Many of these risks are beyond our control and are
driven by factors that often cannot be predicted. Investors should carefully consider the risk factors set forth below, as well as
the other information appearing in this report, before making any investment in our securities. If any of the risks described
below or in the documents incorporated by reference in this report actually occur, our financial results, financial condition or
stock price could be materially adversely affected. These risk factors should be considered in conjunction with the other
information included in this report.