The POET Biorefinery ethanol plant in Macon reopened April 15 after being shut down for nearly three months.
The drought in 2012 caused a lower yield in corn, which resulted in higher corn prices. Those higher corn prices forced the ethanol plant in Macon to close its doors on February 1.
While closed, the plant went through nearly $14 million in renovations. Included in those renovations was an update to allow the plant to extract corn oil. Agricultural Economist Christ Hurt says this upgrade could mean higher profit margins for the plant. He says, “Corn oil is actually a relatively high value product and now many of the plants that have been shut down in the last six months to nine months have used that time to put in the equipment to extract the corn oil.”
Although the plant was shut down from February to the mid April, none of the 45 employees had to be laid off. Plant General Manager Steve Burnett says if those upgrades had been in place before February, the plant may not have had to close.