“Ethanol Has Arrived”

Cindy Zimmerman

RFA The 11th Annual National Ethanol Conference officially got underway in Las Vegas this morning with RFA President Bob Dineen’s “State of the Industry” address.
My friends, ethanol has arrived…
In 2005, the U.S. ethanol industry contributed more than $32 billion to Gross Domestic Output, $5 billion to household income, nearly $2 billion to federal taxes, $1.6 billion to state and local taxes, added $6 billion to net farm income, increased average corn prices about 35¢ per bushel, and was responsible for more than 153,000 jobs in all sectors of the economy.

The full text of Dineen’s speech is available on the RFA website. As of 5:30 pm Central time, that’s about all that was posted on the conference “blog” but RFA’s communications guy Matt Hartwig promises there will be more “sights and sounds” to come.
Released at the conference today was a new report on the “Contribution of the Ethanol Industry to the Economy of the United States,” also available in PDF form from the RFA website link above. That report is the source for Dineen’s opening remarks. The report notes that the ethanol industry is one of the most significant success stories in American manufacturing over the past quarter-century. From a cottage industry that produced 175 million gallons in 1980, the American ethanol industry has grown to include 95 manufacturing facilities with an annual capacity of almost 4.3 billion gallons.
The report forecasts that “assuming an average capacity utilization rate of 95 percent, ethanol production is
projected to top 9.8 billion gallons by 2015.”
While interest is high in using other sources besides corn to make ethanol, the report says corn is “expected to remain the predominant feedstock, although its share likely will decline modestly by 2015” from the current 90 percent to about 86.5 percent.
The ethanol industry also is making significant improvements in yields. Based on improved technology and new plant designs, and reports of yields from new plants, we expect average ethanol yields to increase from the current level of 2.75 gallons per bushel to nearly 3 gallons per bushel by 2015. When this is taken into consideration, we project total corn utilized for ethanol production to increase from 1,586 million bushels this season to nearly 3 billion bushels by 2015.
Other speakers at the ethanol conference today included EPA Administrator Steve Johnson and Exxon Mobile Vice President Dan Nelson. Tomorrow will include Ag Secretary Mike Johanns and the governors of Kansas and Nebraska.
Hope to bring you more, but I have to get it from RFA to give it to you since I am stuck here at home while the boss is out in the field. If Chuck was blogging that event, I guarentee you would know everything that happened there today by now! Young Matt at RFA is still new to this blogging thing, but at least he’s trying. Gotta give him credit for that.