Data from ProExporter Network and USDA suggests ethanol will pass exports as the number two use of corn by 2008.

Leon Corzine, National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) president, said, “This data clearly shows the tremendous growth of the ethanol industry, which has been built by our farmers investing in themselves through the state checkoffs. The industry has definitely been built with our state associations and the NCGA working together. Most of the growth is farmer-owned, and the domestic uses increase jobs in rural communities.”

Corn used for ethanol has increased every year since 1999 and has more than doubled in the past six years. In 1999, 553 million bushels were used for ethanol; by 2004, that number reached 1.204 billion bushels, according to the data released from PRX on May 31 and the USDA Economic Research Service Exports report on May 12.

Meanwhile, corn used for exports have remained steady, with at least 1.897 billion bushels of corn produced for exports from 1999 to 2004. For 2005, 1.448 billion bushels of ethanol are projected to be used, and 1.8 billion bushels of corn for exports are projected.

Max Starbuck, NCGA director of livestock and economic development, said, “In the last seven years, the growth of ethanol has been more rapid than anticipated.”

Corzine noted the increase in ethanol use is another reason why Congress should pass the Renewable Fuel Standard in the upcoming energy bill. “The 8-billion gallon Renewable Fuel Standard is needed to assure the continued growth in the ethanol industry.”