Ethanol's agricultural impact is mixed

October 19, 2005

Purdue University economists say converting more corn into ethanol might profit many interests, but not all in the agriculture industry would benefit.

Agricultural economists Chris Hurt and Otto Doering say corn growers, beef producers and the dairy industry would gain from an ethanol boom. But hog and poultry producers, grain elevator operators and grain shippers might be negatively affected. Soybean and wheat growers could go either way, they said.

Hurt and Doering outlined possible impacts to agriculture from a new federal renewable fuel standard that calls for a near doubling of current annual production by 2012.

To meet that goal, ethanol plants would use 2.5 billion bushels of corn, an increase in current usage of 1 billion bushels, said Doering.

Even if the renewable fuel standard is met, ethanol and other biofuels won't replace fossil fuel in the near term, Hurt said.

"As a nation, our gasoline appetite is about 140 billion gallons a year," he said. "So if we reach 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuel, we'll only be approaching 5 percent of total gasoline use.

"Ethanol cannot supply all of our liquid energy needs, but it can contribute to the solution."

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Fundamental researchers offer new ways to sort molecules for clean energy

Related Stories

When the going gets tough, the tough get growing

July 28, 2016

While relentless bright light brings many forms of cyanobacteria to their knees - figuratively, of course - Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002 does the opposite, thriving and growing at a rate that far outpaces most of its peers. ...

Experts foresee efficient ethanol production

February 8, 2007

As the search for alternative fuel sources intensifies, more and more attention has been focused on ethanol-a fuel many see as desirable because it burns cleanly and can be produced from plants.

Recommended for you

Bubble nucleus discovered

October 27, 2016

Research conducted at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University has shed new light on the structure of the nucleus, that tiny congregation of protons and neutrons found at the core of ...

Shocks in the early universe could be detectable today

October 27, 2016

(—Physicists have discovered a surprising consequence of a widely supported model of the early universe: according to the model, tiny cosmological perturbations produced shocks in the radiation fluid just a fraction ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.