(Posted Wed. Aug 1st, 2012)

Aug. 1: Corn supply projections, research regarding the environmental impact of corn production as well as new efforts to expand uses for corn were topics for discussion when the National Corn Growers Association’s Ethanol Committee met in Washington recently.


While drought-reduced yields in the 2012 crop have gotten the attention of many elected officials in Washington, the longer-term vision of the Ethanol Committee reflected optimism for future corn production and supply.


“The current drought is real and it will be weeks before we fully understand the effects on farmers and the U.S. economy. However, as leaders part of our mission is to juggle both long- and short-term goals and challenges,” said Ethanol Committee Chair Chad Wills, a Minnesota corn grower. “Future yield projections indicate growing productivity, so our committee reviewed ongoing projects that look at how we can continue to lessen the environmental impact of corn production as well as finding new uses for corn and corn products related to ethanol production.”


Ernie Shae, of the organization 25 x 25, told the committee his group also remains undeterred in its mission of continuing a national conversation about energy with the goal of producing 25 percent of the nation’s energy needs from renewable agricultural sources by 2025.


The group also heard reports related to the Renewable Fuel Standard and how farm bill components being debated may affect biofuels policy and the livestock industry. The committee met with the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy and the American Coalition for Ethanol.


The RFA’s Bob Dinneen reported some ethanol plants outside the Midwest have closed or curtailed ethanol production due to the current economy, but overall the industry continues to operate at 92 percent of capacity. He also noted there are 850 million gallons of ethanol currently in storage which will help mitigate any effects related to a short corn crop.