Ethanol Fuel: Georgia's Next Big Business?

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Thomas County farmer Ken Hickey says an ethanol market for south Georgia's corn crop would benefit local growers.

Ken says, "I think it would help the farmers, the economy of the farmers as the price of corn has declined over the years and the price of everything else going up. It would give the farmers a boost in this area."

Ethanol-based fuel, or E-85, is a fuel blend made up of 85 percent ethanol and only 15 percent gasoline. Cheaper and environmentally friendly, its main ingredient, ethanol, is produced from crops. Here in the U.S. that crop is often corn.

Sen. John Bulloch, (R) Ochlocknee, said, "In the state of Georgia right now we have over 70 proposed production facilities for bio-diesel or ethanol or some form of alternative fuel."

One of those projects has roots in southwest Georgia. First United Ethanol in Camilla has plans to open an ethanol facility in Mitchell County.

Sen. Bulloch adds, "(It) hopefully will be up and running in the next few years to help generate close to 100 million gallons a year of ethanol."

And local fuel distributors are ready to jump on board.

Monty Lewis, President of Plantation Petroleum, says, "We're happy to see they're doing that. We certainly will like to take advantage of the ethanol when that plant gets up and running."

Meaning Ken Hickey's corn could soon be leaving his field and filling up your engine at the pump.