Corn checkoff builds new ethanol market in Mexico

Source: By Jim Raben, Farm Week Now • Posted: Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The sun is bright each morning in the eastern sky, but we need to look south for a bright spot in corn demand these days. That bright spot is due in no small part to the corn demand building work of your corn checkoff and the Illinois Corn Marketing Board.

Mexico is taking steps to allow its entire domestic unleaded gasoline market to move toward an E10 blend, the practical impact on corn demand of the move being that the equivalent corn exports to that nation will almost double.

That’s great news, since in the 2016 marketing year, Mexico became our No. 1 foreign market for U.S. corn. Your IL Corn checkoff program was an integral part of this development. Research that the corn checkoff funded in air quality and life cycle analysis of corn ethanol was an important consideration by Mexican regulators.

(Photo by Catrina Rawson)
(Photo by Catrina Rawson)

Technical expertise provided by a fuel market specialist that is contracted with your corn checkoff dollars moved the needle in the Mexican retailers’ understanding of the on-the-ground changes that will be necessary to complete the evolution to E10.

And finally, the IL Corn checkoff leverages your investment with the U.S. Grains Council, a vital partner in all foreign market development, with their newest areas of influence being for corn-based ethanol and distiller’s dried grains exports.

Related to this effort, IL Corn recently co-hosted a group of Mexican governmental officials during their visit to Illinois to see firsthand an ethanol plant, corn farms and to experience the air-quality improvements that corn-based ethanol has made in the Chicago airshed.

Mexico isn’t the only new market that the corn checkoff is building for corn-based ethanol. Talks are ongoing in Japan, as regulators in Tokyo are looking for sustainable fuel options to help meet their obligations under the Paris Climate Accord.

Brazil is importing U.S. corn ethanol as the world price of sugar means more sugar cane is headed to the sweetener market instead of the fuel market. Even the European Union is considering all the scientific evidence to show that your homegrown corn is a sustainable choice that benefits air quality and human health.

Putting the corn checkoff to work in building demand is our job because ensuring corn farmer profitability is our bottom line. Be sure to stop by and visit us at the Farm Progress Show so we can talk about more ways IL Corn is working to build corn demand.

Jim Raben of Ridgway serves as chairman of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board.