Weather Forecast


Ethanol industry pumps estimated $5 billion into state's economy

Minnesota's ethanol industry generated more than $5 billion in total economic activity in 2011 and supported more than 12,600 jobs, according to a new report from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). The state's 21 ethanol plants have the capacity to produce 1.1 billion gallons of ethanol, putting Minnesota 5th nationwide in ethanol production.

According to the MDA report, ethanol added $912 million to the value of the state's corn crop in 2011, a second record high. For every bushel of corn processed into ethanol, $2.07 was generated in additional revenue. The report also shows that for every dollar invested into the ethanol plants, more than eight dollars were generated for the Minnesota economy.

Last year, Minnesota farmers harvested more than 1.2 billion bushels of corn and 440 million bushels were put into production of ethanol and its co-product, distillers dried grains (DDG). The report's author, MDA economist Su Ye, says the ethanol industry continues to have a critical role in bringing increased returns to the state's largest agricultural crop.

"While there have been ups and downs in the ethanol industry, the fact is it's a huge advantage for us to keep more of the value of the corn we produce rather than ship it to another state or country as a raw commodity," said Ye. "The ethanol industry is an important economic driver that adds value to every bushel of corn grown by the roughly 11,000 farmers who supply it to the plants."

Ye said Minnesota exports 42 percent of its corn, while 39 percent of it is processed. In comparison, the U.S. exports 12 percent of its corn and 50 percent is processed.

MDA's latest Minnesota Ethanol Industry Report can be viewed online at