By Forrest Saunders, Multimedia Journalist - email
The exterior of Plymouth Energy, near Merrill, Iowa.
NEAR MERRILL, Iowa (KTIV) -
The numbers aren't good. The USDA reports 55% of Iowa corn is in poor to very poor condition. Nationally, corn production is forecast at 10.8 billion bushels, the lowest since 2006.
It's all driven prices to record highs, and that means a tighter profit margin for the ethanol industry. The US Department of Energy told the Des Moines Register corn prices shot up 35% from June to August, and that was too fast for the price of ethanol to catch up.
"Currently, we are able to keep our head above water," said Eamonn Byrne, CEO of Merrill's Plymouth Energy ethanol plant.
Byrne says the market has them cutting production by 20%. That's about 10,000 bushels a day. He says PE isn't alone.
"I think the whole ethanol industry has already rationed back. People are going to cut back, and the market will dictate the level that you are going to cut back to. Yes, we are concerned about it," he said.
There's worry things could get worse if the government waives the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires billions of gallons of ethanol to be blended into gasoline. Those who want it waived say it could ease food prices. RFS supporters say it won't help.
"We're not talking about making sweet corn, canned corn, popcorn, or even candy corn. It's out of animal corn, Yellow Corn No. 2," said Tom Buis, CEO of ethanol awareness company Growth Energy.
The EPA is accepting comments on the proposed waiver until September 26.
A little treasure in the debris of a home that once welcomed Rebecca Garland's four grandchildren gave her such a delight.More >>
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