Summer drought impacts on ethanol - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Summer drought impacts on ethanol

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CLAREMONT, Minn. (KTTC/AP) -- Anyone who uses corn for any reason is taking the brunt of our drought-stricken summer.  The ethanol industry is no exception.

On Sunday, it was reported that 20 of the nation's 211 ethanol plants have quit operations because of the high corn costs.  However, the industry has seemed to stabilize because of it.

At Al-Corn Clean Fuel in Claremont operations continued ahead.  Which is good news for farmers, not so good for those who are buying it, like Al-Corn.  "Our supply of corn looks good here, but the demand for that corn across the U.S. is pretty strong so it's pulling it out of here as fast as it can," said Al-Corn CEO Randall Doyal.

Doyal would like to see the corn stay in the region instead of heading south but that just can't happen.  "Southern Minnesota was quite blessed this last year," he said. "We had a crop and a lot of places didn't."

Farmers across the midwest were searching for rain last summer and although it never showed, the markets did get some relief.  "Ethanol kept coming in from Brazil. That kept our stocks high and price low," said Doyal.  "Frankly there's probably enough production shut down now. the industry can produce 15 billion gallons at full capacity and we're at about 11.5 billion gallons at rate right now. So we're below 80-percent our capacity."

The remaining 191 plants are still producing as planned.

However, there is growing concern about what kind of impact there will be if the drought lingers through another growing season.

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