ETHANOL INDUSTRY DOING WELL
According to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), the U.S. ethanol Industry set a record for annual production in 2004, with total U.S. ethanol production at about 3.4 billion gallons. This was a 21% increase over the 2003 total U.S. ethanol production of 2.81 billion gallons. Based on the January 12, 2005, USDA “World Supply and Demand Report”, approximately 12% of the projected U.S. corn usage during the 2004-2005 marketing year will be utilized for ethanol production. This represents a total of 1.43 billion bushels of corn being utilized for ethanol production, which is a 22% increase over the 2003-2004 corn marketing year. It is estimated that about 17% of Minnesota’s total corn production is currently used for ethanol production.
There are 81 ethanol plants presently operating in the United States, with another 16 plants under construction.
A study released by the Renewable Fuels Association found that on the average, the construction of a new 40 million gallon ethanol plant had the following impact on the community and area farm operators :
The bottom line is that there are a lot of positives to producers, local communities, and to U.S. energy policy that are achieved by having a strong ethanol industry in the U.S. There are proposals in the U.S. Congress to expand ethanol production and usage in future years. We are likely to see continued interest in building additional new ethanol plants in Minnesota, Iowa, and other Midwestern states in the next few years.
Editors note: Kent Thiesse is a former University of Minnesota Extension educator and now is Vice President of MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN. You can contact him at 507-726-2137 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.