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USDA directs $32 million in COVID-19 aid to Kansas ethanol production plants

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TOPEKA — Operators of eight ethanol plants in Kansas disrupted by economics of the COVID-19 pandemic will receive more than $32.4 million in federal disaster aid, officials said Monday.

The largest Kansas recipients of assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture are Conestoga Energy Holdings, of Liberal, and East Kansas Agri-Energy of Garnett. Conestoga, which has two ethanol facilities in Kansas, qualified for $14.4 million. East Kansas Agri-Energy, with a single facility, was to receive $5.4 million.

Dan Fischer, acting state director of rural development at USDA, said the biofuel producer program was part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act also known as the CARES Act. The USDA initiative was designed to help sustain markets for Kansas producers of corn, soybean or biomass used in biofuel production.

“The pandemic disrupted the rural economy through market interruptions,” Fischer said. “The USDA is targeting resources to improve the resiliency of critical markets for Kansas farmers and ranchers.”

Overall, the CARES Act program for U.S. biofuel facilities appropriated grants to 195 production plants in 25 states.

Other Kansas recipients of federal aid: Pratt Energy, of Pratt, $4.1 million; Western Plains Energy, of Oakley, $2.4 million; Kansas Ethanol, of Lyons, $2.1 million; Phillips County Ethanol Project, of Phillipsburg, $1.7 million; Nesika Energy, of Scandia, $1.3 million; and Purefield Ingredients, of Russell, $702,000.

In addition, two companies based in Kansas received USDA support for facilities operated in other states. Trenton Agri Products, of Wichita, received $2.6 million for a Nebraska plant. ICM Biofuels, of Colwich, received $1.2 million for a Missouri facility.

Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: info@kansasreflector.com. Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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