Poet Ethanol Plant Reopens After Corn Shortage

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MACON - Poet Ethanol plant reopened this month after suspending production in Febrary, due to this year's drought which caused a shortage in corn. The plant uses 16.5 million bushels of corn annually, all grown in an 80 mile radius of the plant.

General Manager Steve Burnett said, "We thought we wouldn't reopen until around September, during the new harvest, but we were able to find so more corn."

During the suspension, all 44 employees still worked full time on the plant's expansion. The plant is adding three more grain bins and just finished building new offices.

"The country is depending less and less on foreign oil, making the need for ethanol higher. Poet is the largest ethanol refinery in the country," said Burnett.

If the suspension had continued, it could have impacted other Missouri businesses. The plant sells excess CO2 to soda companies and food manufacturers, as well as left over corn grain to cattle farmers.

"There's no waste, everything is passed on," said Burnett.