On this National Agriculture Day, the Renewable Fuels Association would like to recognize and thank those involved in American agriculture, who provide abundant supplies of food, fuel and fiber to the world. Agriculture is the lifeblood of our industry, helping to produce the cleanest, lowest cost and highest source of octane fuel on the planet.
In 2016, U.S. farmers harvested a record corn crop of 15.1 billion bushels and achieved a new record average yield of 174.6 bushels per acre. In turn, U.S. ethanol facilities produced a record 15.3 billion gallons of ethanol and 42 million metric tons of high-protein animal feed. The U.S. ethanol industry supported 74,420 direct jobs in renewable fuel production and agriculture, as well as 264,756 indirect and induced jobs across all sectors of the economy—while contributing $42 billion to the Gross Domestic Product.
However, the current economic climate is tough for our nation’s farmers. Demand has not kept up with supply, requiring corn growers to sell their commodity below their cost of production. Net farm income fell to a seven-year low in 2016 and the aggregate value of crops hit its lowest point since 2010. But thanks to ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard, agriculture has weathered the storm.
“It is no exaggeration to say that the recent downturn in the farm economy would have been far worse without the ethanol industry’s stabilizing effects,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “That is why the RFA has made increasing demand for ethanol here and abroad our top priority. So, as we celebrate National Agriculture Day, we need to recommit ourselves to increasing demand, building the infrastructure and regulatory environment for higher level ethanol blends like E15 and E30, and removing unfair tariff and non-tariff barriers for free ethanol trade across the globe. If we are to truly honor our nation’s farmers, we must recognize their struggle and promote rural economic stability and growth. At the RFA, we do that every day.”