Ethanol industry is supporting farmers despite failed farm policy

June 20, 2018
By Dan McGuire

LINCOLN, NE—June 20, 2018: “The anti-ethanol letter to the editor in the June 19 Independent, “Ethanol program led to ag economy woes,” lacks facts. The Nebraska Ethanol Board reports positive economic benefits to Nebraska, stating, “In 2014, the total labor income impact was $319 million. This income was earned by an estimated 4,443 jobs shown as total employment (FTE). The ethanol industry creates a substantial annual impact on the Nebraska labor market by supporting approximately 4,500 jobs with average annual earnings (wages, salaries and benefits) of $72,000. The average earnings includes direct jobs in the ethanol industry as well as jobs throughout the state. Most of these jobs are created in non-metropolitan Nebraska. Over the entire 2010 to 2014 time period, the annual labor income impact varied between $287 and $352 million per year.””

“Corn acreage goes up and down. The real production story is the steady upward trend in average U.S. corn yield per acre since the 1950s. Corn prices were stronger for a few years from 2010-2011 into 2013-2014, largely a result of severe drought conditions. Nebraska’s ethanol industry is an economic superstar, representing $5 billion in capital investment. The corn industry is a powerful economic driver for Nebraska and the nation. Since the 1980s and 1990s federal farm policy eliminated supply management and positive price impacting tools. Advocates of such policy projected that exports would be a major growth sector. Exports did not deliver as promised. Fortunately, Nebraska has a strong ethanol industry to mitigate failed farm policy. Farmers were told to get their income from the market. Nebraska’s 25 ethanol plants help achieve that while lowering gas prices and reducing toxic pollutants. Ethanol is good for all Nebraskans. Corn prices are projected as low as $3.40 this marketing year. Imagine how low corn prices would be without the ethanol industry.”

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