Local ethanol plants receive $10 million in federal aid

jake@stormlake.com

Little Sioux corn processors in Marcus and Quad County corn processors in Galva received a combined $10.1 million in assistance from a CARES Act program for ethanol producers.

The money was allocated by USDA Rural Development to help ethanol producers recover from “unanticipated market losses suffered as a result of COVID-19.”

“The Biden-Harris administration is committed to rebuilding the rural economy after the effects of the pandemic,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement. “That’s why the USDA is targeting resources and investments to improve the strength and resilience of U.S. sustainable fuels markets.”

Little Sioux received $6.1 million and Quad County received $4 million, according to a USDA statement released last week.

The ethanol industry was operating at around 50% capacity at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in the spring of 2020. Gas consumption and ethanol consumption follow together; The Des Moines Register reported that an expert survey predicted fuel demand would decline by up to 55% due to the coronavirus shutdown.

Little Sioux closed in 2020. Chief Executive Steve Roe told investors that industry margins were thin in the first three quarters of 2020 due to “excess supply, insufficient demand and the COVID-19 pandemic,” read a Q4 2020 investor statement.

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