Ethanol’s COVID slump compares to other industries


Ethanol’s COVID slump compares to other industries

The coronavirus outbreak has added to tough times for renewable fuels, but an ethanol plant board member says renewable fuels are no worse off than any other business. The ethanol plant that Ron Alverson helped found in 1999 is producing about half what it normally does.

“It’s just not a good situation,” Alverson told Brownfield Ag News, referring to the current low demand for ethanol. The coronavirus-related downturn in fuel consumption might force the Dakota Ethanol plant to cut back to 25 percent of its production capacity this month, said Alverson, a board member of the plant, located in Wentworth, South Dakota.

“We’re in for a lot of red ink this summer, I think, until we get through this thing,” he said.

Despite that, the retired South Dakota farmer said the company is going through nothing different than any other business or industry at the moment.

“Everybody’s just really getting slammed,” he said. “To say that we’re getting hit worse than anyone else, you know, I’d much rather be in the ethanol industry today than in the restaurant industry. That’s for sure.”

Another South Dakota ethanol plant, at Chancellor, South Dakota, is one of three POET plants being shut down because of the pandemic-related economic slump.

Alverson is a past president of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association.

AUDIO: Ron Alverson

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