NCGA: Corn ethanol is here today to fuel U.S. economy now
Corn farmers are good environmental stewards
The National Corn Growers Association said that comments made Feb. 11 by the Environmental Working Group and associated Grocery Manufacturers Association groups are just another attempt to prevent the ethanol industry from decreasing the United States' dependence on foreign oil. NCGA further asserted that there are many environmental benefits from corn ethanol and that corn farmers continue to be good stewards of the environment.
"These environmental groups are stirring up fear for the American public at a time when Americans are already struggling due to the faltering world economy, job losses and high costs of food brought on by some food companies' record profits and greed," said NCGA President Bob Dickey.
"The fact remains that 'made in the U.S.' corn ethanol is here--and available today--to strengthen the U.S. economy, create new, U.S.-based jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Wind and solar power are good options for energy; however, these will take years to have the same impact that ethanol is having now," Dickey said. "Furthermore, corn supply is ready and available for ethanol expansion since corn growers have increased corn stock to 1.8 billion bushels."
Recent studies, including the acclaimed University of Nebraska study released earlier this year, show that ethanol has many environmental and economic benefits, including:
--Ethanol production and use today reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 59 percent compared to gasoline.
--The production and use of 6.5 billion gallons of ethanol in 2007 displaced 228 million barrels of imported oil valued at $16 billion. Ethanol experts expect those numbers to all increase in 2008.
--Ethanol has provided more than 260,000 jobs across the economy, with more growth expected.
--Water use by ethanol plants has been reduced by 26 percent since 2001.
--America's ethanol industry has added more than $34 billion of new revenue for the federal government since 1978 and reduced America's cost of foreign oil by nearly $100 billion. This is a 5 to 1 return on America's investment in ethanol.
In January 2009, the "Field to Market" Keystone Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture program issued a report providing the first-ever framework for measuring agriculture sustainability.
The initial index shows that soil-loss efficiency trends have improved substantially--by 30 to nearly 70 percent--for the four crops evaluated. Energy use per unit of output is down in corn, soybean and cotton production by nearly 40 to more than 60 percent. Irrigated water use per unit of output has also decreased--20 percent to nearly 50 percent--while carbon emissions per unit of output have dropped by about a third for these three crops.
Specifically, corn has seen the following changes between 1987 and 2007.
--Land use: The amount of land needed to produce one bushel has decreased 37 percent.
--Soil loss: Manageable soil loss per bushel of corn has decreased by 69 percent.
--Energy: The energy used to produce a bushel of corn has decreased by 37 percent.
--Climate impact: Corn production has seen a 30 percent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions per bushel.
The National Corn Growers Association is a national organization founded in 1957 and represents approximately 35,000 dues-paying corn growers and the interests of more than 300,000 farmers who contribute through corn checkoff programs in their states. NCGA and its 48 affiliated state associations and checkoff organizations work together to help protect and advance the corn producer's interests.