JOHNSTON, Iowa — Farmers across the globe are looking to Iowa when it comes to ethanol production. That's because the state had yet another record-breaking year in ethanol production.
A total of 4.5 billion gallons were produced in Iowa alone, up from 4.4 billion in 2021. The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association attributes that to three things: fuel demand returning to pre-pandemic levels, Iowa ethanol plant efficiencies, and ample corn supply.
“Iowa continues to set the pace for ethanol production around the world,” said IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw in a statement. “The attractive price of E15 and E85 drove sales during the 2022 gas price spike. Barring a recession, we expect ethanol demand to grow each year as Iowa and other states make progress in increasing access to E15, often marketed as Unleaded 88. The Governor’s E15 access bill was a large step forward in increasing access to cheaper, cleaner fuel for Iowans. As demand grows, Iowa ethanol plants are well positioned to continue breaking records.”
Shaw is optimistic about the future, and that optimism can also be seen in farmer John Maxwell, who produces and sells corn at Cinnamon Ridge Farms.
"Having ethanol production be strong is great for the farmers," Maxwell told News 8's Charles Hart. "You always notice when you go to the gas pump, which is the cheapest gas, the 10% 15% ethanol is always cheaper. So it is helping every person every day."
The Iowa Corn Growers Association said the state is already on a good track to keeping production up, but there are other steps farmers can take to make sure it stays on track.
"We need to look at carbon capture technology, we need to look at reducing tillage on our farms, we need to look at reducing potential inputs and looking at more maybe biological type things that are increasing our soil health," said Lance Lillibridge, chairman of the Iowa Corn Growers Association.
Right now, Iowa is at the top of the ethanol and corn production industry in the United States.
"We have the momentum," Maxwell said. "That's the big piece, though. Momentum is there. And we just need to keep it going and keep doing the right things every single day."
According to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, in 2021, renewable fuels accounted for over $5 billion dollars of Iowa's G.D.P. That's nearly 3% of the state's G.D.P. that year.
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