Iowa Third District Congresswoman Cindy Axne held a virtual biofuels roundtable with employees from POET Biorefining – Corning on Friday.
The ethanol industry is coming off a very challenging year where sharp losses occurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Congresswoman Axne said one of her main priorities in 2021 is funding relief for ethanol producers. She remains confident that once Tom Vilsack takes over as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, that he will support the use of CCC funds for ethanol relief.
“At the end of last year, hopefully you all were made aware that we included authorization for the USDA to use that CCC – or Commodity Credit Corporation – money to support our biofuels industry,” Axne said. “Secretary Vilsack has absolutely said and made it clear that he wants to use that CCC money for payments to our biofuels industry. Let’s get him in there and get situated, and then start moving that agenda forward because we passed that bill out last year and we are ready to use those funds to support your needs.”
POET Biorefining – Corning began full operations in May of 2007. Their ethanol production facility consumes approximately 23 million bushels of locally-grown corn to produce 65 million gallons of ethanol annually. Plant Manager Scott Sawtelle thanked Axne for her continued support to the industry.
“I know on our side, as you are well aware, biofuels are a huge economic engine in Iowa,” Sawtelle said. “Ethanol producers are responsible for over 48,000 grain jobs in the state. We purchase a little over 1.3 billion bushels of corn each year which helps sustain our grain prices. We were thankful for your support in the past. Obviously, with what you have stated, we know we have your support in the future and we really appreciate that. Thank you.”
POET Biorefining – Corning employs approximately 40 people and enhances the local economy with improved corn prices, value-added markets for farmers, good-paying jobs, and increased local tax revenue.