If you think Iowa Corn is crazy about corn, you should see some of the livestock it feeds every day at dinner time! 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 2014 Iowa Ag Economic Contribution Study, which uses the 2012 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 $31.6 billion and is responsible for more than 122,000 jobs. Twenty-three 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 support 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 research projects through universities.
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 17 pounds of distillers grains. Through this process, an additional 38.6 million metric tons of high quality distillers grains enter the livestock feed supply from the production of 14 billion gallons of ethanol.