Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Corn shortage idles 20 ethanol plants nationwide
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The persistent drought is taking a toll on producers of ethanol, with corn becoming so scarce that nearly two dozen ethanol plants have been idled.
The Renewable Fuels Association, an ethanol industry trade group, provided data showing that 20 of the nation's 211 ethanol plants have ceased production over the past year, including five in January. While workers maintenance-type tasks, ethanol production won't likely resume until after 2013 corn is harvested in late August or September.
Industry experts don't expect a shortage -- millions of barrels of ethanol are stockpiled and the remaining 191 plants are still producing. Still, there is growing concern about what happens if the drought lingers through another corn-growing season.