Officials with the National Corn Growers Association say the U.S. is on target to reach a 15-billion-gallon-a-year production goal… much earlier than the original 2015 goal.
In fact, NCGA President Ken McCauley tells the Kansas City Star that goal could be reached as early as 2011 or 2012:
That reflects the growing confidence within the ethanol industry about its prospects in an era of expensive gasoline. But the association’s view is especially interesting in that additional production of corn, currently the main feedstock for ethanol, is crucial in meeting the rosier projections for ethanol.
McCauley noted the country’s corn farmers were ramping up production.
About 10.5 billion bushels of corn were harvested last year and an estimated 12.5 billon would be produced this year. Improved yields and more acres planted with corn should eventually increase production to 15 billion bushels, with about a third of that used for ethanol. A bushel of corn currently produces roughly 2.8 gallons of ethanol.
“We look at this as a real opportunity for agriculture,” he said.
The article goes on to say that the Renewable Fuels Association pegs current ethanol production at 6.2 billion gallons a year and expects that to double by early 2009.