Ethanol Demand Sparks Rising Corn Prices for Region 8 Farmers - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Qulin, MO -- Heather Flanigan Reports

Ethanol Demand Sparks Rising Corn Prices for Region 8 Farmers

May 31, 2006 - Posted at 5:46 p.m. CST

QULIN, MO -- As the demand slowly increases for alternative fuels, farmers are starting to see the benefits. Growing ethanol use is giving corn farmers something they haven't seen in years -- rapidly rising prices. Farmers in Region 8 say the supply crunch for ethanol is just fine with them.

"I use it every chance I get," said farmer Roy Ashcraft, "I buy fuel by the tank loads, about 8,000 gallons. I use soy diesel in that, I use 15% in blend everywhere I go. If I buy gas at the pumps, then I'll use ethanol if it's available. There's just not enough of it available."

Last year's federal energy bill mandates alternative fuels to be used nationwide. Industry analysts believe the rising trend in corn prices could last over the next decade.

Ashcraft is pleased with the news of increasing corn prices, but doesn't think it will make a gold mine out of his corn fields. After farming for 30 years, he knows not to get his hopes up.

"Price fluctuations are up and down. The last few years they've been in the basement," said Ashcraft, "This year, I'm looking for corn to be a little better this coming year. I hope they are."

Corn prices have been steadily falling over the last decade, but experts don't think they will ever get as high as they did after the drought of '95.

"I don't see a crunch because I don't think that much ethanol is being produced right now. I'd say it's more corn production. It's down because of the lower prices in the last few years," said Ashcraft.

And as Ashcraft prepares for the harvest this fall, his outlook is realistic.

"I hope they stay high for a few years. We need to ride something besides our equity," said Ashcraft.

The price for a bushel of corn has jumped $.50 to $2.50 over the last six months.

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