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(Updates with comments on acquisitions, additional detail)
NEW YORK, Feb 9 (Reuters) - The U.S. ethanol industry is poised to export record volumes of the biofuel in 2017, said Green Plains Inc on Thursday, as the company forecast a year of demand growth and flagged plans to expand in food ingredients.
Green Plains sees the total industry on track to export 1.1 billion or more gallons of the biofuel in 2017, even with China absent as a buyer, the company's President and Chief Executive Officer Todd Becker said on a conference call with investors.
Becker forecast a year of strong domestic demand as well. That will help to scoop up the 15.3 to 15.7 billion gallons U.S. ethanol makers are likely to pump out this year, the company said.
Green Plains is still actively seeking investments in food ingredient businesses, Becker said. The company agreed to buy Fleischmann's Vinegar Company in late 2016 in a bid to move into higher margin products with lower volatility. (Reporting by Chris Prentice; Editing by James Dalgleish)