Drought helped one Heartland biorefinery acquire upgrades

The parched landscape of 20-12 devastated many agribusinesses in the heartland and beyond. Poet Biorefining had to halt production of ethanol in February when corn supply decreased dramatically due to drought. This presented an unusual opportunity and executives from Poet decided to use the time off to invest 14 million dollars worth of upgrades to the facilities with zero jobs lost in the process. Some of the upgrades use new methods to distill ethanol which require less energy and therefore increase profit margins for the company. Computers and Evaporators were also updated and will make the plant more efficient as a whole. Also, corn oil and biodiesel are other commodities it can now produce. These advances should help this plant be prosperous for years to come.

â??Poet is very good at leading the charge in technology. Although we're not in a real high corn acreage state, we've done very well here for 13 years. Our investors are very happy. They've supported us all this time and we do have a bright future,â?? said Steve Burnett General Manager of Poet Biorefining in Macon.

And with much of our energy being imported from overseas, Poet provides an energy service that is completely domestic.

â??Americans as consumers they've become very aware that they like to buy products that are made in America. Ethanol here is made from corn grown by Missourians on the family farm. It's processed through a plant built by Americans, manned by Americans, owned by Americans, and it's really a pretty humbling thought,â?? he said

Production started in late April and Poet has regained enough corn to last until next harvest.