Standing outside the Central Minnesota Ethanol Co-Op in Little Falls, Minn., there's not a lot going on. The pungent smell of fermentation that typically hangs in the air here is absent. And trucks piled high with corn are nowhere to be seen.
They're idled in part because of high corn prices. And it's unclear when that will change.
"Most of the industry is just breaking even in terms of profitability or actually running at slightly negative margins," says Geoff Cooper, vice president of research and analysis at the Renewable Fuels Association.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.
We've been hearing, all morning, reports of Hurricane Isaac coming ashore along the gulf coast, and we're going, now, to Craig Fugate. He is the FEMA Administrator, the Federal Emergency Management Agency - and he is spending the morning on the gulf coast. Mr. Fugate, where are you now?
Now, Greg mentioned Plaquemines Parish. Look at a map of Louisiana and you'll see that parish, a finger of land sticking far out into the Gulf of Mexico. Jennifer Hale of WVUE Television is in the parish, spent the night there. And Ms. Hale, where are you now?
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene. Hurricane Isaac made landfall last night in Louisiana and it is battering the Gulf Coast with high winds and a lot of rain. For the latest we turn to NPR's Greg Allen. He's in New Orleans and we have reached him by telephone. And Greg, give us a sense of this storm. It sounds like, you know, Category 1, which, you know, makes you not worry so much, but a lot of people fearing that it could just stay in one place for a good while.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. Finally, Larry Bird looms larger than Magic Johnson. The two players fought a famous rivalry in the '80s. Bird's Celtics and Johnson's Lakers battled for NBA titles again and again. But one thing could never change. In the college championship game in 1979, Johnson's Michigan State beat Bird's Indiana State. Now, Indiana State plans a 15-foot tall statue of Larry Bird, larger than any existing statue of Magic Johnson. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
NPR's business news starts with upping the oil output.
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GREENE: The group of seven most industrialized nations are urging oil producing countries to ramp up production. In a statement yesterday, the so-called G-7 nations warned of the risks, quote, "posed by elevated oil prices." Demand for gasoline usually starts to wane at the end of the summer but right now gasoline prices are hitting new highs. Oil prices are surging because of tensions with Iran and the ongoing concern about Hurricane Isaac.
The writer Ta-Nehisi Coates says he noticed something about one of this year's major news stories. When Trayvon Martin, a black teenager, was killed by a white man in Florida, there was widespread dismay. And then President Obama spoke.
And today's last word in business is a home run for Major League Baseball.
ESPN agreed yesterday to pay the baseball association $5.6 billion over the next eight years for broadcast and digital rights to games. That is a record, we're told, for baseball broadcasting rights. It is also about double what ESPN currently pays to broadcast Major League Baseball games, although the sports network will be getting a lot more for its money this time around - more international rights, radio rights, rights to more games.