Ethanol credited for $5 billion boost

The Minnesota Agriculture Department says the ethanol industry generated more than $5 billion in economic activity last year and supported at least 12,600 jobs.

Minnesota’s 21 ethanol plants can make more than 1.1 billion gallons of ethanol annually, giving Minnesota the fifth largest capacity in the country.

Most ethanol today is made from corn, although work is progressing on making the use of other plant matter economically feasible. The Agriculture Department report says that ethanol added $912 million in value to the state corn crop.

The report’s author, department economist Su Ye, said the ethanol industry continues to have a critical role in bringing increased returns to the state’s largest agricultural crop.

“While there have been ups and downs in the ethanol industry, the fact is it’s a huge advantage for us to keep more of the value of the corn we produce rather than ship it to another state or country as a raw commodity,” Ye said. “The ethanol industry is an important economic driver that adds value to every bushel of corn grown by the roughly 11,000 farmers who supply it to the plants.”

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