Ethanol industry back in the black after rough years - Star Tribune

Article by David Shaffer - Feb. 14, 2014

Boom times are back in the ethanol business.

Major producers of the corn-based fuel are reporting record returns for the fourth quarter thanks to dramatically lower corn prices, increasing demand for motor fuel and strong ­ethanol exports.

It’s a complete reversal from 2012, when drought sent corn prices higher than $8 per bushel, leaving many of the nation’s 210 ethanol plants unprofitable and forcing some to close and others to be sold.

Green Plains Renewable Energy, the nation’s fourth-largest ethanol producer with two plants in Minnesota and 10 elsewhere, recently reported that the last quarter of 2013 was its best ever — and the current quarter may be better. Valero, the nation’s third-largest ethanol producer and owner of Minnesota’s largest ethanol plant and nine more in other states, also reported record ethanol operating income in the fourth quarter.

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