The U.S. ethanol industry is well on its way to surpassing last year’s record production of 2.81 billion gallons, according to the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA). If production continues at its current pace, the industry will generate approximately 3.35 billion gallons this year, up 19 percent from 2003.
And as the ethanol industry continues to expand, so do market opportunities for corn growers, according to NCGA Chairman Dee Vaughan. Nearly 11 percent of last year’s corn crop went to ethanol, Vaughan said, and USDA expects ethanol to consume nearly 13 percent of this year’s record crop.
“Ethanol has established itself as a major market for U.S. corn. Ethanol plants have been proven to raise the local price for corn, which in turn boosts farm income and bolsters rural economies,” Vaughan said. “The industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds as consumers continue to demand clean-burning renewable fuels that help the environment, reinvigorate rural communities and enhance our energy security.”
The ethanol industry set another monthly production record in August with 225,000 barrels per day, according to the Energy Information Administration. The previous monthly record of 222,000 barrels per day was set in June. Through August, U.S. ethanol producers have generated 2.23 billion gallons of ethanol.
According to the Renewable Fuels Association, 81 ethanol plants are in operation and 14 additional plants are under construction. Although still centered in the Corn Belt, ethanol production facilities are cropping up across the country as ethanol use increases nationwide.
Earlier this week, Panhandle Energies of Dumas, Texas, announced plans to break ground for the first ethanol plant in Texas, a 30-million-gallon-per-year facility that will use corn as its primary feedstock. Vaughan, who farms near Dumas, said the new plant will employ 36 people and consume approximately 1 million bushels of corn per month.
“This is an exciting development for corn growers in this area,” he said. “Panhandle Energies, the Dumas Economic Development Corporation and the Texas Corn Producers Board worked extremely hard to bring the first ethanol plant to the Lone Star State.”
(Vgl. Meldung vom 2004-09-17.)
Source: NCGA-Notes, Nov. 02, 2004.