USDA doling out $700M to ethanol plants

Granite Falls, Lamberton among 195 facilities to receive federal aid

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Friday it will provide more than $700 million to help lower costs and support biofuel producers who faced unexpected market losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funds to southern Minnesota ethanol plants include $4,092,520.68 to Highwater Ethanol, LLC, Lamberton; $3,366,025.94 to Heartland Corn Products, Winthrop; $10,171.607.85 to Guardian Energy, Janesville; and $14,256,491.77 to the Granite Falls Community Ethanol Plant.

“It’s very good news,” Highwater Ethanol Chief Executive Officer Brian Kletscher said. “We were pleasantly surprised by this. We knew funds were out there. They were approved in December 2020 but didn’t go out back then.”

“After experiencing a year like 2020, this is really helpful. We saw our ‘net back,’ prices received after shipping costs fall as low as 77 cents a gallon,” Kletscher said. “Before the pandemic, our net back ranged from $1.30 to $1.48 per gallon. At this time, we are experiencing $2.20 to $2.50 per gallon.”

Kletscher said corn is up more than $3.00 a bushel since 2020, so everything needs to be taken into consideration.

“More than half of the country’s ethanol plants were idled,” Kletscher said. “More than 100 pulled back production, which is what we did. We’re thankful. We’d rather not have to apply for it, but 2020 was not business as usual for everybody. No doubt about it.”

Funds were made available through the Biofuel Producer Program, created as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

“The investments we’re announcing today will pave the way to economic recovery for America’s biofuel producers, stimulate a critical market for U.S. farmers and ranchers, and support out nation’s transition to a clean energy economy, Kletscher said.”

For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.


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