Bright spots for ethanol amid challenging times

Domestic ethanol expansion has slowed,  but the U.S. exported $2.1 billion in ethanol in 2014, replacing Brazil as the world’s largest ethanol exporter. The 2015 data is expected to show 850 million gallons of exported ethanol, second only to a record year in 2011 and up from the 835 million gallons exported the previous year.

In addition, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) made a very public statement in support of ethanol and maintaining the Renewable Fuels Standard during an Ag Executive Outlook Panel during the opening day of the 2016 National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville. AEM named the RFS one of their top issues for 2016.

In addition, this month there were two recent research reports supported by USDA focused on ethanol and other renewable fuels — one published by USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist and another published by the University of Missouri.

“U.S. farmers continue to improve their efficiency in the production of corn for ethanol while the impact of ethanol production on corn production has become marginal. Between 1991 and 2010, direct energy use in corn production has dropped by 46% per bushel of corn produced and total energy use per bushel of corn by 35%,” said Tom Vilsack, Agriculture Secretary. “Moreover, between 2005 and 2010, direct energy use fell by 25% and the total energy use by 8.2% per bushel — meaning that between 2005 and 2010, the energy required per bushel of corn produced dropped by about 5%. The bottom line is, today, more energy is being produced from ethanol than is used to produce it, by factors of 2 to 1 nationally and by factors of 4 to 1 in the Midwest. There are many reasons to be optimistic about the future of the bio-economy and the role biofuels and advanced biofuels will play in that future, and I am confident this administration has acted aggressively to expand the groundwork to support that brighter future.”

To learn more about the reports referenced by Secretary Vilsack, please visit:

http://www.usda.gov/oce/reports/energy/2015EnergyBalanceCornEthanol.pdf

www.fapri.missouri.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/FAPRI-Report-01-16.pdf.

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