There may be some good news for area corn producers on the horizon.
You may have heard of cellulosic ethanol before, the leaders of Poet Energy say the only difference between the ethanol we're familiar with that uses corn kernels, is that the cellulosic process will use corn cobs and other residue from the corn harvest.
That means farmers will be able to sell a product they used to leave in the field.
The Poet ethanol plant in Emmetsburg is ready to start producing cellulosic ethanol. Before starting commercial production, the plant needs farmers to bring in a large amount of corn cobs.
On Tuesday corn producers from in the Emmetsburg area got an up close look at the future of farming at Poet Energy's Liberty Field Day.
Equipment manufacturers like Case IH and Challenger are showing them how they may one day harvest corn cobs.
"If there's an economical way to take these cobs off where our customers can make some money with them and still provide an alternative source of energy it seems to make a lot of sense," said CaseIH Senior Director of Global Product Marketing Gerry Salzman.
The three methods of getting the cobs to market include using a bailer, hauling a cob separator behind the combine, or bringing in the stalks and cobs together.
Salzman says all of the equipment shown at the field day are prototypes. They are working with Poet researchers to come up with the best solution to fit the Cellulosic Ethanol process.
Government leaders including Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge and Members Of The U-S Farm Service Agency say help for farmers to get started harvesting is in the works.
"What we do is provide a dollar for dollar matching payment per dry ton delivered to a facility up to $45, and that matches what the facility pays," said Farm Services Agency Spokesman Jonathon Kappos.
The incentive package is referred to as B-Cap, and would also provide incentive for farmers to plant crops used in biofuels like switch-grass and a hybrid poplar.
Poet Energy Vice President of Commercial Development Scott Weishar says the impact to the farming economy could be huge.
"It comes to a gross revenue dollar of 18-23 dollars an acre potential and then whatever the equipment cost would be," he said.
Poet energy and government leaders are advocating increased ethanol requirements by the federal government.
Four star general and renewable energy advocate Wesley Clark says it's a matter of national security.
"If we go to E-15 we can save one million barrels of imported oil a day," said General Clark.
He says that adds up to $3 to 400 billion sent to countries in the Middle East and Cuba. He says it’s one of the largest shifts of wealth in history.
A big upcoming date for the ethanol industry is the first of December. That's the day the environmental protection agency will decide whether to increase ethanol to 15 percent instead of 10 percent.