Minnesota Corn Growers Say Ethanol is Fueling Rural Economies
SHAKOPEE, Minn., June 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — From small-town mayors to President Obama, there is one thing on the minds of all elected officials: putting more Americans back to work. And while recent unemployment numbers have been less than encouraging, the U.S. ethanol industry is bringing more and more jobs to rural America.
“There’s no doubt that ethanol has helped diversify the market for U.S. corn,” says John Mages, Minnesota Corn Growers Association president and a corn farmer from Belgrade, Minn. “But it’s equally exciting to see the positive impact ethanol has had on the rural communities so many of us call home.”
That impact can be seen most easily when it comes to jobs. According to Growth Energy, in 2011 the ethanol industry created and supported 400,000 new jobs across the country. That includes 90,000 jobs directly supported, primarily in rural communities.
Minnesota’s economy and rural communities have firsthand experience with the benefits provided by the domestic ethanol industry. Economic stimulation and surge have been created, resulting in a new type of rural renaissance in many areas where jobs were often few and far between.
One of the greatest challenges for rural communities throughout America is the lack of resources available to entice a company to invest in the area. They often struggle to maintain economic growth, and look for ways to attract quality jobs to their area. But with over 20 ethanol biorefineries in the state, communities from Atwater and Benson to Winthrop and Winnebago are reaping the rewards that ethanol production brings to town.
“I think you could easily argue that the ethanol industry has empowered small towns across the country,” says Mages. “The impact goes beyond jobs and dollars and cents. Ethanol has enabled the rural communities where so many of us grew up to have the chance to stay viable, creating economic opportunities for generations to come.”
Part of the reason ethanol has been able to positively impact communities, reaching beyond rural America, is because of the Renewable Fuels Standard. The RFS requires that by 2022, the U.S fuel market blend 36 billion gallons of biofuels with up to 15 billion gallons coming from corn-based ethanol.
Under the RFS, additional job creation from advanced biofuels production could reach more than 800,000 by 2022 — benefiting both rural and urban areas.
With the economy struggling to revitalize itself, Americans are looking for ways to cuts costs and save money. With the increase in ethanol production, the average Midwestern family saves more than $1,200 per year in fuel costs, thanks to the Renewable Fuel Standard. Ethanol offset 10 percent of our country’s gasoline usage in 2011, saving the average American family $1.09 per gallon.
And while the impact of ethanol can be seen throughout rural America, it’s not just small-town citizens who are reaping the benefits. At the national level, the ethanol industry generates $43 billion in economic activity and contributes more than $8 billion in federal, state and local taxes. Last year alone, the nation’s ethanol production added $42.4 billion to the national GDP and $29.9 billion to overall household income.
SOURCE Minnesota Corn Growers Association