Nearly a third of Nebraska’s ethanol plants are closed

Source: York Times • Posted: Tuesday, February 5, 2013

YORK – A few weeks ago, it was announced that the Abengoa Bioenergy ethanol plant near York would be temporarily closing.

Since that time other plants have also closed, leaving more than one third of the state’s ethanol plants not in production.

Last Friday’s closure of the Ag Processing cooperative plant near Hastings took the number of closed ethanol plants to seven.

There are 24 ethanol plants in Nebraska.

Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator Todd Sneller said a number of ethanol plants nationwide have been idled because of high corn prices and dwindling profit margins.

But he said many of the plants that remain open are maxing out production to help meet demand. Sneller said ethanol plants can better withstand high corn prices if there is strong demand for their distiller’s grain as feed in the area.

Producing ethanol is a challenging business right now because corn is in high demand and most of the corn-producing region of the United States is dealing with drought.

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service says Nebraska’s corn harvest declined 16 percent last year to 1.292 billion bushels. That contributed to an average price of $7.45 per bushel in Nebraska last month, up from $6.28 per bushel a year earlier.