Today is National Farmers Day and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is sending out a big thank you to farmers in honor of their role in producing food, fuel and fiber for the U.S. and the world. RFA quotes the words of Thomas Jefferson, “Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals and happiness.”
This morning USDA issued the latest statistics on the corn harvest and once again, American corn farmers are set to post another record with corn production estimated to be 15.1 billion bushels for the 2016/2017 harvest. This feat is more than double the production only 25 years ago. For example, in 1991, corn production was 7.48 billion bushels. Also this year the USDA is forecasting another record yield of 173.4 bushels per acre, surpassing the 171 bushels per acre recorded in 2014.
Of this massive haul, the U.S. ethanol industry used 5.25 billion bushels of corn last year valued at $19 billion. This was used to produce nearly 15 billion gallons of ethanol and 40 million metric tons of dried distillers grains, or DDGS, an animal feed, returning the feed grade portion of corn back into the marketplace. In all, the ethanol coupled with DDGs production was valued at more than $31 billion.
Bob Dinneen, RFA president and CEO thanked America’s farmers on behalf of the ethanol industry. “Ethanol continues to be the most important value-added market for America’s farmers, helping to drive investment in rural America while allowing Congress to reduce federal farm program costs. At the same time, ethanol is helping to clean the air, address global climate change, enhance U.S. energy security and lower consumer gasoline costs. Given all that farmers do to help feed and fuel the world, every day should be National Farmer’s Day.“