FOCUS ON AGRICULTURE: Corn, ethanol industries add $12 billion to Missouri economy

Posted: Feb. 14, 2013 11:13 am Updated: Mar. 14, 2013 3:15 pm


Missouri's corn and ethanol industries are adding to the state's bottom line.

A study, conducted by the University of Missouri Commercial Agriculture Program, calculated the industries injected $12 billion into the state's economy from 2000 to 2011.

"This research substantiates the tremendous economic benefits corn and ethanol production bring to Missouri," said Missouri Corn Merchandising Council Chairman Jim Stuever, a corn grower from Dexter. "They are significant drivers for the state by creating jobs, generating tax dollars and increasing vitality of rural communities."

Overall the combined benefits to the state's economy over the 12 years studied were $12 billion in economic value, $5.3 billion in labor income and $2.2 billion paid in local, state and federal taxes.

Dedication by farm families and commitment from the state of Missouri has resulted in big dividends for Missourians.

During the 12-year period, the ethanol industry yielded a 6 to 1 return, a net value of over $600 million, on the state's investment.

According to the study, Missouri's six majority farmer-owned ethanol plants alone generated $734 million in economic value, $416 million in labor income and $174 million in local, state and federal taxes.

Missouri's ethanol industry annually utilizes nearly 100 million bushels of corn to produce nearly 300 million gallons of ethanol and 825,000 tons of distillers grains, a high protein livestock feed.

In 2011, Missouri corn production added over $1 billion in value to the state's economy, and together the two industries supported 67,000 jobs.

The complete study, "Economic Contribution of the Missouri Corn and Ethanol Industries, 2000-2011," is available online at


Biodiesel goal

The biodiesel industry is pushing toward its new 10-year vision -- 10 percent of the on-road diesel market by 2022.

"It is not about replacing every drop of petroleum; it is about continuing to diversify transportation energy so we can meet our needs affordably and sustainably," National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe said. "Biodiesel will play an increasing role to help protect fuel consumers and the U.S. economy from unstable energy markets that are grossly distorted by political factors in the most politically unstable region in the world and by nationalized oil companies of totalitarian regimes."

Eight years ago NBB set a goal to be 5 percent of the diesel fuel supply by 2015, a goal then viewed as aggressive. With a billion gallons produced in 2011 and 2012, the industry is well on its way to achieve that goal and possibly hit it earlier than expected.

"No one could have predicted the changes and challenges of this industry, but we have been deliberate and intentional as we map our potential," Jobe said.

The industry's 10x22 goal envisions a more diversified future energy portfolio that would include biodiesel making up 10 percent of the diesel fuel supply. The goal is benchmarked to the onroad volumes but expected to be used in various blend levels in various applications -- and it accounts for continuing technological breakthroughs in research on raw materials.

Researchers at the Danforth Plant Science Center have developed technology that has demonstrated 2 percent and possibly higher increases in the oil content of soybeans. Preliminary data suggests these benefits occur without loss of yield or negative impacts on protein quality. The development has the potential to add one-half billion gallons of oil to the feedstock supply in the near term without negatively impacting soybean meal and animal feed.

Compiled by Herald-Whig Staff Writer Deborah Gertz Husar.