Minnesota’s ethanol industry bounced back in 2021

By Minnesota BioFuels Association | February 17, 2022

Minnesota’s ethanol industry contributed $2.1 billion to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021 as ethanol production and demand recovered from the slowdown in 2020.

The industry produced 1.27 billion gallons of ethanol in 2021, 33 percent higher than 2020’s volume, according to a new study by the University of Minnesota Extension. 

This resulted in $6.1 billion in economic activity while supporting 22,810 jobs (up from 14,500 jobs in 2020). 

The study said the ethanol industry contributed $1.3 billion in income for Minnesota residents while paying $123 million in state and local taxes. 

“This new study once again illustrates the importance of Minnesota’s ethanol industry to the state’s economy,” said Tim Rudnicki, executive director of the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association (MN Bio-Fuels).

The study said Minnesota’s ethanol industry used 454.1 million bushels of corn in 2021. This represented 31 percent of the 1.5 billion bushels harvested in Minnesota in 2021. 

Apart from ethanol, the industry also produced 3.7 million tons of dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) - a high-protein animal feed - and 332.3 million pounds of corn oil in 2021.

The study said the DDGS produced was sufficient to feed 1.8 million cows, 2.2 million pigs and 55.5 million turkeys and chickens. 

“For context, Minnesota farms have 2.3 million cattle, 9.5 million pigs and 49.5 million head of poultry,” the study said. 

Additionally, the 332.2 million pounds of corn oil produced in 2021 could produce 43.1 million gallons of biodiesel, the study said. Minnesota has a biodiesel production capacity of 85.5 million gallons.

The study by the University of Minnesota Extension was sponsored by MN Bio-Fuels. 

Read the study here