USGC: Analysis quantifies value of ethanol, coproduct exports

By Erin Voegele | May 26, 2016

The U.S. Grains Council has published a new analysis conducted by Informa Economics that determined exports of U.S. corn and corn products generated $74.7 billion in annual economic output in 2014, with sales of all U.S. feed grain products contributing $82 billion.

According to the analysis, the export of corn and corn products increased the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) by $29.8 billion over what would have occurred without such exports. The number of full-time equivalent jobs linked directly or indirectly to corn exports totaled 332,787.

All feed grains examined—corn, corn products, sorghum and barley—increased the U.S. GDP by $33 billion over what would have otherwise occurred, affecting 371,536 jobs. 

The study also specifically addresses the impact of ethanol, and ethanol coproducts distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and corn gluten feed (CGF). According to the analysis, the direct economic contributions of ethanol exports include 938 jobs, $115 million in labor income, $238 million in GDP and $2.07 billion in output. The direct contributions of DDGS and CGF coproducts include 1,448 jobs, $177 million in labor income, $367 million in GDP, and $3.19 billion in output.

The total economic contribution of ethanol exports was 25,250 jobs, $1.57 billion in labor income, $2.97 billion in GDP and $8.87 billion in output. For DDGS and CGF, the total economic contribution was 38,978 jobs, $2.42 billion in labor income, $4.58 billion in GDP, and $13.69 billion in output.

“Corn—whether in the form of feed, ethanol, or meat and dairy—is a major driver of the U.S. farm economy. Exports impact not just farmers and ranchers, but the entire U.S. economy,” said National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling, a farmer from Newburg, Maryland. “That’s why it’s so important that farmers and ranchers have access to international markets, and why we need global trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership that give us a chance to compete.”

The study, which was commission by the National Corn Growers Association and the USGC, quantifies the economic benefits nationally and to each U.S. state and selected Congressional districts of grain exports, showing results for corn, ethanol, DDGS, CGF and the corn equivalent of meats, in addition to sorghum and barley.

Every $1 in exports of grains and grain products generates an additional $3.23 in business sales across the U.S., the study found. The positive economic effects of corn exports benefit not only agriculture, but also wholesale trade, real estate, oil and natural gas production, and the banking and financial industries. In addition, the study found that if these exports were suddenly halted, more than 47,000 jobs and $2.8 billion in GDP would be lost in farming, ethanol production, and meat production.

A full copy of the study can be downloaded from the USGC website.