Iowa Corn Growers Association
Ethanol is not a lost cause page banner

Ethanol is not a lost cause

Posted on November 19, 2013 at 7:30 AM by Iowa Corn

As an agricultural student and current farmer, I was disappointed in the recent editorial by the Iowa State Daily urging us to “cut our losses” in reference to the ethanol industry. The author mentions the “billions in federal subsidies” the ethanol industry has received; however the corn industry gave up the federal tax credit in 2011!

The article also failed to mention heavy taxpayer support for the oil industry for the last 100 years. From 1991-2001, average corn yield has increased by 36 percent (109-147 bushels per acre). We're currently (even with the deplorable conditions experienced during the 2013 growing season) in the process of harvesting one of the largest corn crops in history. Need I remind you the corn we're harvesting for ethanol production is not used for human consumption?

A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture study found that only 11.6 cents of every dollar spent on food is returned to the farm. Believe it or not, Corn Flakes spends more for printing on the box of Corn Flakes than it does for the corn IN Corn Flakes! In times of economic uncertainty, the last thing we need to do is “cut our losses” with a renewable fuel source. Iowa leads our nation in production of renewable fuels. In Iowa, ethanol accounts for more than $5 billion of our GDP, generates $3.5 billion dollars of income for Iowa households, and supports nearly 55,000 jobs in various sectors of the economy. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think of those numbers as losses!

I do not believe we can replace the entire oil industry with ethanol, but I do believe a balanced approach between renewable fuels and fossil fuels will put us on a sustainable path into the future. I don’t think we can we afford to turn our backs on an industry that provides this much economic vitality to our state.

Brent Drey is from Sac City, Iowa and currently attends Iowa State University studying agriculture.

During his time at Iowa State, he's served as President of the Iowa State University Beginning Farmers Network and the newly developed Iowa State University Corn Growers/Promotion Club. He's also been heavily involved with Iowa Corn serving on the Collegiate Advisory Team. 

Upon graduation, he plans to return to the family farm in Sac City, Iowa and join the operation with his parents and sister. They currently raise corn, soybean, and popcorn using a wide variety of environmental practices including CRP, Wetlands, Bird Buffers, Cover Crops, Reduced/No-Tillage, etc. He will continue representing the agricultural community in various capacities upon returning to Sac City. 

Brent is very excited about the future of all enterprises within the agricultural industry. He also mentions, "another important responsibility we have as agriculturalists is to bridge the gap between rural and urban America by informing our consumers about food production and put an end to the misinformation surrounding the agricultural community." 

There are no comments yet.
Add Comment

* Indicates a required field

© 2023 Iowa Corn Promotion Board/Iowa Corn Growers Association. All rights reserved.