Midwest Poised To Become Next Middle East

Cindy Zimmerman

ICM An Associated Press story with a Kansas dateline is getting some good pick-up around the country. The article focuses on the ethanol distribution business and it mentions numerous big companies in the ethanol business including Colwich, Kan.-based ICM Inc., the nation’s largest designer of ethanol plants. The article notes that a small group of fuel distributors and ethanol barons stand to make a mint shipping the alternative fuel from the Midwest, where it’s made, to major urban markets on both coasts. In other words, as this ethanol business grows, the Midwest stands to become the next Middle East – holding a pretty big piece of the production pie. Let’s face it, the vast majority of the 95 ethanol plants currently in operation are located in the Midwest. There’s only a handful of mostly small facilities located outside of the corn belt, with a few more planned. Even taking those into account, total non-Midwest ethanol production capacity is about five percent of the nearly 6.5 billion gallons per year estimated for the country as a whole (source: RFA) So, point being, even once the industry starts using more sources other than corn to make ethanol – the majority of the plants will still be located here in the nation’s mid section, giving a great boost to our rural economies. Not a bad thing in my book.