Ethanol was a popular topic for discussion during the 2017 U.S. Grains Council (USGC) Winter Meeting, held last week in Panama City, Panama, with many USGC representatives believing that improving global ethanol demand will be key in sustaining a successful export market for U.S. corn and corn products.
“Our ethanol program that we’ve put a lot of effort in recently has shown some great promise, a lot of countries are anxious to work with us, they just don’t know what to do to get started,” said Mike Dwyer, USGC Chief Economist, in an interview during the event. “So the whole focal point of our market development program is to work with them on the technical and policy side to get the policy right, make sure they understand the benefits of ethanol blending with respect to issues like greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation.”
Dwyer also explained that the market development efforts are focused mainly on trying to develop demand for ethanol that doesn’t exist right now.
“If a country cannot produce enough ethanol to hit their blend levels, they need to pick up their phone and call the U.S. and order whatever they can’t fill domestically. In other words, exports are a supplement to domestic production,” he said.
USGC has committed to reaching 2.63 billion gallons of exports by 2026. Last year’s ethanol exports reached 860 million gallons, but this year’s exports are projected to hit 1.1 billion gallons, which is above where we need to be to hit that benchmark.
“I think we’re just getting started on our growth curve. We have the full support of the U.S. corn community, and we have a strategic alliance with Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuel Association. The three of us are working together for the greater good of developing ethanol demand worldwide with a role for trade,” said Dwyer. “A lot of these countries do not want to import, and we make the case that they’re going to import oil anyway, these are import deficit countries, so wouldn’t you rather import a product that solves an environmental problem rather than one that contributes to it? And so far that message has been resonating.”
Listen to Lizzy’s full interview with Mike here:
Interview with Mike Dwyer, USGC