Extension News

Program to Focus on Economics of Corn-Based Ethanol Industry


AMES, Iowa—Expansion of ethanol production in Iowa raises many questions about corn exports and imports and the use of byproducts for livestock feed.


“The infrastructure changes necessary to support a major shift from crops for feed and food to crops for fuel could have an impact on rural jobs second only in magnitude to the changes in farming seen over the last half century,” said Arne Hallam, chair, Iowa State University (ISU) Department of Economics.


Hallam’s department is planning a statewide webcast and mini-conference entitled “Perspectives on Present and Future Corn-Based Ethanol Industry.” It is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Ames. The webcast will be available at ISU Extension offices throughout the state. The primary emphasis will be the economic situation and potential economic impacts associated with the corn-based ethanol industry.

“Experts with a variety of perspectives will address the current state of the corn ethanol complex and its near-term prospects and challenges,” said Hallam. “No matter how you consider the issues, Iowa agriculture is in for a wild ride over the next five years.”


Five main topics on the corn-based ethanol industry will be covered, including:


* Overview of the current industry. Ethanol's share of the gasoline market, cost and supply implications and the share of corn crop used for ethanol production are some of the issues to be covered.


* Industry expansion. Along with discussions on financing and planning increased capacities, a major issue discussed will be the structure of the ethanol, feed and livestock industries during the transition period that will occur over the next three to five years and the long run implications of changes in these sectors on the Iowa agricultural economy.


* Global and local impact on corn and oilseed markets, including food, feed and fuel. The impact of new, higher grain prices on domestic and international food prices and the market implications of crop failures and changing world markets will be analyzed in this section.


* Livestock feeding and the implications of using high protein corn co-products on livestock and the nutritional, environmental and economic impacts that may arise.


* Obstacles of expanding the corn-based ethanol industry related to transportation, warehousing and logistics infrastructure.


Several ISU economists will contribute to these discussions including John Miranowski, John Lawrence, Robert Wisner, Dermot Hayes, Robert Jolly, Roger Ginder and Paul Gallagher.


Those interested in attending the conference should contact their local ISU Extension office for viewing locations and to register. A fee will be collected at the door.

As of 1 p.m., Oct. 25, the 62 ISU Extension county offices listed below had signed up to carry this program. This list will be reviewed and updated weekly until Nov. 13.

Adair County

Allamakee County

Boone County

Bremer County

Buchanan County

Buena Vista County

Calhoun County

Carroll County

Cass County

Cerro Gordo County

Chickasaw County

Clay County

Crawford County

Dallas County

Davis County

Delaware County

Dickinson County

Emmet County

Floyd County

Fremont County

Greene County

Grundy County

Guthrie County

Hamilton County

Hancock County

Hardin County

Harrison County

Humboldt County

Ida County

Iowa County

Jefferson County

Johnson County

Jones County

Keokuk County

Kossuth County

Linn County

Louisa County

Lucas County

Lyon County

Mahaska County

Mitchell County

Monona County

O'Brien County

Osceola County

Page County

Palo Alto County

Plymouth County

Polk County

Ringgold County

Sac County

Shelby County 

Sioux County

Story County

Tama County

Union County

Wapello County

Washington County

Webster County

Winneshiek County

Woodbury County

Worth County 

Wright County


Contacts :
Arne Hallam, Economics, ahallam@iastate.edu, (515) 294-6741

Jean McGuire, Extension Communications and Marketing, (515) 294-7033, jmcguire@iastate.edu