Date of this Version
Cornhusker Economics, October 7, 2020
Prior to the shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, distillers grains and other co-products of ethanol production played a crucial role in maintaining the rev-enue stream of dry mill ethanol plants (Irwin 2020). With low crude oil prices over the last half of the decade and corn prices holding steady over the same period of time, the margin for error in the ethanol industry was thin. More than a third of Nebraska’s ethanol plants either temporarily or permanently closed in 2019 (MacroTrends 2020); (York News Times 2019). To prevent similar outcomes, ethanol plants focused on diver-sifying their operations to produce higher-value coproducts to hedge against adverse price trends in the ethanol industry (Voegele 2020).