Corn growers help drive economyA shining light among the many negative headlines about the nation’s economy continues to be Minnesota agriculture. Despite the 2012 drought, agriculture is an economic engine fueling Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.
A shining light among the many negative headlines about the nation’s economy continues to be Minnesota agriculture.
Despite the 2012 drought, agriculture is an economic engine fueling Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.
“Farming can sometimes be about a little bit of luck combined with a lot of hard work,” said Tom Haag, president of the association and a corn farmer from Eden Valley. “Minnesota was fortunate not to bear the brunt of the drought and was able to produce more corn than the state ever has, largely because of innovations in how we grow corn that we’ve invested in through the years.”
As the second-largest industry in Minnesota, agriculture serves as the cornerstone of the state’s economy, creating jobs, generating business and supporting other industries.
Recording 1.374 billion bushels of corn during a time of strong global commodity prices has an economic impact that is staggering, Haag noted.
The association provided the following facts showing the impact corn farmers have made on the state’s economy:
• There are approximately 25,000 corn-producing farms across the state.
• According to a 2008 study by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota corn farmers directly and indirectly support 37,948 jobs.
• Each dollar of Minnesota’s corn production generates a total of $1.80 in economic activity.
Minnesota corn farmers also play a pivotal role in supporting Minnesota’s animal agriculture:
• According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, nearly $8 billion in total direct economic activity each year is a result of animal agriculture, which directly supports 35,000 jobs.
• Minnesota corn farmers have helped Minnesota pork producers achieve the number two status nationally, in part due to the proximity to corn-producing farms that supply the feed.
• Nearly one-third of pork producers in the United States are now based in Minnesota.
• The Minnesota pork industry has experienced impressive growth in its economic impact, nearly doubling since 2002, to a value of $2.35 billion in 2011.
Corn’s contributions go beyond food and fiber, Haag added. Another major derivative of corn, ethanol, provides Americans with the energy to fuel vehicles, powers homes and businesses, and fuels rural communities by providing viable, stable economic opportunities.
According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the Minnesota ethanol industry created and supported 12,500 new jobs in 2011.
One of the greatest challenges for rural communities throughout America, Haag said, is the lack of resources available to entice a company to invest in the area.
Ethanol production has changed that in Minnesota. The state has 20 biorefineries, which contribute $5 billion in economic activity each year.
It’s not just rural communities that have benefited from the increase in ethanol production:
• Ethanol offset 10 percent of the country’s gasoline usage in 2011, saving the average American $1.09 per gallon.
• In addition to generating jobs and fueling economic growth, the ethanol industry contributed $8 billion in federal, state and local taxes, helping communities support their public schools and police and fire departments.
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