Ethanol in America: "Our Crop. Our Fuel. Our Country."

" It is a vision that many in rural America see as their salvation: high-performance moonshine from amber fields of grain, and a "grass station" in every town. It may be a chimera. It may drain precious water from the arid plains and produce less energy that it uses. But it has the undeniable power of an idea in ascendancy. "

According to the New York Times, all over America, where towns have been losing population since the depression, there is new excitement and energy.

""We're going to revitalize rural America," said Read Smith, a farmer in eastern Washington and national co-chairman of a nonprofit group working with some of the biggest names in politics and philanthropy to have agriculture produce 25 percent of the nation's energy needs by the year 2025. "We're going to pull the plywood off the windows. We're going to create a $700 billion per year industry that is not here today."

Farmers have been burned before, but they are by nature optimists. "And it is that dream that keeps many farmers going: owning their share of the little ethanol plant on the prairie." ::New York Times

Picture: Peter Newcomb for The New York Times