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Iowa ethanol plant CEO on 2020 struggles

The CEO of an ethanol plant in northern Iowa cannot recall a more difficult time for the biofuels industry. 

Chad Kuhlers with Golden Grain Energy in Mason City says 2020 has been brutal.

“The entire shutdown in the months of April and May were devastating to the industry. Starting in March with the whole pandemic, beyond 50 percent of the U.S. ethanol demand basically tanked.”

He tells Brownfield supplies shot up in response, leading to some of the highest inventories on record.

“And ethanol prices went to the lowest it’s been since we’ve been in operation for 16 years.”

Earlier this year Golden Grain sold ethanol for as low as 79 cents per-gallon.

“Our previous record I believe 90 cents per gallon in 2005.”

He says ethanol demand improved through the summer, but the plant is still fighting to get out of the hole created during the pandemic.

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