Massive flooding in the Midwest last week compromised 13% of the nation’s ethanol production capacity as plants in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota have shut down or scaled back production following the storms.
While some plants in the region continue to operate, Reuters reports 100,000 to 140,000 barrels per day of the country’s 1.06 million bpd capacity has been taken off line due to the floods.
Damage from the “bomb cyclone” could top $440 million for crop growers alone, according to Craig Head of the Nebraska Farm Bureau.
Not only are ethanol plants in the flooded regions affected, but because hundreds of miles of railroad have been damaged, those not in the immediate flood area are also suffering.
This week Growth Energy has asked Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao for help to expedite rail shipments of the corn-based fuel, according to ProFarmer’s Jim Wiesemeyer.
“It is imperative that all possible actions be taken by the nation’s railroads to ensure that these critical fuel supplies are immediately prioritized and reach markets as quickly as possible,” Growth Energy wrote in its letter to Chao.
The floods will boost margins for those still operating but could be punishing for firms digging out from the water, Reuters reports.