Green Plains weathers storm in ethanol industry - Omaha World Herald

Article by Teresa Lostroh - Aug. 2, 2012

For Todd Becker, checking commodity prices is part of the morning routine.

Wake up. Turn on iPad. Check prices.

When Becker, president and CEO of Omaha-based Green Plains Renewable Energy, looked in mid-June, September corn futures were around $5.50 a bushel.

A month later, prices had rocketed above $8.

"This is the most volatile we've ever seen" the market, Becker said.

The ethanol industry is no stranger to market fluctuations and the uncertainty they bring. High corn prices squeezed profits in 2008, when several ethanol companies went under and plans to build more plants were shelved.

This summer, the expensive corn and uncertainty are back, and they're as unsettling as ever. But ethanol producers are different this time around, Becker and others say. They point to companies such as Green Plains as an illustration of how the industry has changed and why it can weather the latest storm.

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