Ag News: Ethanol Production Hits COVID-era Highs and Ag Lending
**Bloomberg says U.S. ethanol production reached its highest level since COVID-19 lockdowns brought the industry to a basic standstill.
Gasoline demand on a four-week rolling average hit the highest point since 2007 for this time of year.
The revival comes as corn is available at a relatively cheap price, setting the stage for better profit margins and a potential boost in overseas demand.
The fuel industry is waiting for overdue Biden administration proposals on mandates requiring refiners to blend fixed amounts of the biofuel.
**Demand for livestock loans grew in the third quarter, boosting agricultural lending activity, but demand for operating loans was more subdued, and total non-real estate lending remained near its past decade average.
The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank says while the average size of operating loans also remained elevated, a smaller number of loans limited the overall financing of operating expenses.
The agricultural economy generally remained strong as elevated commodity prices continued to support farm incomes.
**University of California, Merced researchers are working to generate detailed climate information to help farmers and water agencies make water-management decisions in the face of longer and more severe droughts.
UC Merced received a $10 million research grant from the USDA for a four-year effort to enhance data-driven practices to protect groundwater supplies and make agriculture and ecosystems more water resilient.