A record corn harvest is what the nation needs to meet the growing demands of the nation’s ethanol industry.

The U.S. ethanol industry set an all-time monthly production record in June of 222,000 barrels per day (b/d), according to recent information released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

June was the ninth consecutive all-time monthly production record. Production was up nearly 23 percent compared to June 2003, when 181,000 b/d of ethanol were produced.

The ethanol industry is expected to produce more than 3.3 billion gallons in 2004, up from 2.81 billion gallons in 2003. Currently, 81 ethanol plants have the capacity to produce more than 3.4 billion gallons annually. Ten additional plants are under construction.

“Ethanol is undoubtedly one of the most notable success stories in agriculture today,” said National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Chairman Fred Yoder. “Ethanol demand continues to surge, and this new production record shows that the industry is willing and able to keep pace with this demand.”

If Congress passes the renewable fuels standard, ethanol production will likely increase at a rate of nearly 13 percent per year, according to ProExporter Network, a Kansas City-based consulting firm. The industry could be producing about 5.7 billion gallons of ethanol by 2011, according to PRX.

“As consumers become more aware of the economic, environmental and energy security benefits provided by ethanol, demand will increase even more rapidly,” Yoder said. “And we need to be prepared for that. The underlying message here is that we need Congress to pass a comprehensive energy bill with the renewable fuels standard immediately.”