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Farmers reflect on future of ethanol industry
With the extreme drought conditions in 2012, the price of corn skyrocketed, leaving ethanol plants feeling the burn. Thursday farmers react to one plant in the Cornhusker state that was shut down and auctioned off.
It may seem like a distant memory since we're in the middle of winter, but the drought of 2012 is still prevalent in fields. But just this week the NEDAK ethanol plant in Atkinson was sold at public auction.
So what does that mean for a state that depends on the production of ethanol to support some farmers and producers?
Donald Medbery works on a farm in Grand Island whose production is sent to ethanol plants.
He says that ethanol plants were forced to shut down some of them temporarily because of high corn prices.
"Right now I think there are 3 or 4 more closed temporarily because of profits. But I think they will come back. The demand is also down on ethanol now I think and that is part of it too," said Medbery.
And Lieutenant Governor Rick Sheehy who spoke at the Ag Conference Thursday, is hopeful for the ethanol industry, as well.
"What they continue to fight, as do those who feed livestock and grains is the high prices of the corn or product that they're using to process to develop the ethanol. So businesses including the ethanol industry have a bottom line that they need to meet," said Sheehy.
As for the plant that was auctioned off, it sold for $22 billion to Choice Ethanols Holding LLC of Fargo, North Dakota.
Sheehy also says that we have about a dozen ethanol facilities here in Nebraska and says a majority of them doing well adding that Nebraska is the second largest ethanol producer in the country.
It means farmers like Donald are hoping we don't see another dry year.
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