Ethanol’s impact on Nebraska is $5 billion and growing

Source: By Steve White, NTV • Posted: Monday, June 26, 2017

Nebraska farmers like Mike Thede of Palmer want you to fill up with ethanol.

It’s common to see fuel that’s ten percent ethanol at the gas station. But retailers like Pump and Pantry are rolling out higher blends that all cars made in the last 15 years can burn.

Thede said, “E 15 is a great way to support the economy of the state and we’re producing our own fuel here, we need to be doing that.”

A University of Nebraska study found ethanol production in Nebraska jumped around a thousand percent over a ten-year period.

But two years after economists did the math, they’ve realized the impact is greater than just the fuel produced.

Ag Economist Dr. Kate Brooks said, “It was an ethanol industry, they produced ethanol. But as we’ve come further into time, things like the dry distillers grains, the corn oil, those have become important products for these ethanol plants.”

Things like extracting corn oil from the kernel wasn’t done even a few years ago and industry leaders say is now commonplace.

Ethanol Board Administrator Todd Sneller said, “Making that available for use in livestock feeds and poultry feeds, and as an additive to biodiesel are all options for that product. So it’s added a new product to the plant, increased the throughput of ethanol production and added profitability with a new product for sale.”

What were called by–products are now often called co–products.

Sneller said, “That’s given us terrific opportunities for additional investment, additional employment, additional use of Nebraska based products.”

The Ethanol Board is working with university economists for regularly studies to track this growing industry, so they can share that with policymakers.

They also want to share it with consumers, saying ethanol is the smart choice to support Nebraska.

Sneller said, “If they’ve got any interest at all in the Nebraska economy, they understand these are products produced here locally by Nebraska workers and Nebraska plants.”

Farmer Mike Thede said it’s simple.

“Really need to support the product we’re producing here.”

The Ethanol Board also working on new marketing, including a campaign that may be ready for the upcoming Husker football season.