Corn Price Spike Muddies Ethanol and USDA's Ag Outlook Forum

Corn Price Spike Muddies Ethanol and USDA's Ag Outlook Forum

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
From the Ag Information Network, I’m Bob Larson with your Agribusiness Update.

**With tasting rooms closed due to the pandemic, many California wineries struggle to adapt, with some small wineries saying their business has declined to “virtually zero.”

Others have found success for online sales and tastings conducted virtually.

Smaller wineries in particular tend to depend on tasting-room sales.

Larger wineries that sold wine primarily through restaurants have suffered more than those that focus on retail sales.

**Higher corn prices muddied the U.S. ethanol industry, but the full impact of the corn price spike might not be felt for weeks.

The Renewable Fuels Association estimates about two dozen of the 200 U.S. ethanol plants are idled and another two dozen have reduced production.

RFA chief economist Scott Richman tells with the higher corn prices and the impact of the pandemic, ethanol plant margins turned negative in December and recently neared break-even levels when the most recent corn price spike hit.

**The USDA is out with details of the 97th annual “Agricultural Outlook Forum,” to be held virtually February 18-19th.

Themed “Building on Innovation: A Pathway to Resilience,” the Forum will focus on the role science and innovation have played in helping the ag sector overcome challenges and build resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A keynote address by incoming Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, presentations by Congressional leaders, and a session on genetic literacy are scheduled for the first day.

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