Livestock is one of the top consumers of Iowa corn and distillers grains, a corn co-product created during the ethanol production process. The Iowa ethanol and livestock industries thrive on the success of each other – DDGS create a local, cheap, high protein food source for producers and producers profit from this low-cost, nutritional feed option. And consumers enjoy the benefits like that juicy bacon cheeseburger and ice-cold glass of milk! That’s all corn-fed and now you understand how feed is the number one market for corn!
According to the 2019 Iowa Ag Economic Contribution Study, which uses the 2017 Census of Agriculture information, livestock farming is a significant contributor to the agriculture economy. Statewide output attributed to livestock production and further processing is just under $15.8 billion and is responsible for around 186,000 jobs. Thirty-four of Iowa's counties derive at least one-fifth of their total agriculture and agriculture-related jobs from the livestock and meat processing industries.
Livestock is an important corn customer, and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board and the Iowa Corn Growers Association provide financial and in-kind investments to many livestock initiatives such as the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) and the Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers (CSIF), as well as various livestock projects with our livestock partners.
As the ethanol market has expanded, so has the market for corn. This expansion is also good for the livestock industry. Each bushel of processed corn produces 2.8 gallons of ethanol and 16 - 17 pounds of distillers grains. From the 1.5 billion bushels of Iowa corn that goes into ethanol production, 1/3 or 373 million bushels are turned into distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS). Making Iowa not only #1 in ethanol and corn production but also in DDGS production.
In Iowa we grow corn, but the truth is corn grows Iowa. Corn also grows out livestock industry. In Iowa, livestock production and related industries contributes $15.8 billion in value and about 186,000 jobs.