The tremendous expansion of corn-based ethanol is changing Iowa. The state's expanding ethanol production is raising many questions about corn exports and imports and the use of ethanol coproducts like distillers grains for livestock feed.
"The infrastructure changes necessary to support a major shift from crops grown for feed and food, to crops grown for fuel are tremendous. This could have a major impact on rural jobs second only in magnitude to the changes in farming seen over the last half century," says Arne Hallam, chair of Iowa State University's Department of Economics.
Hallam's department is planning a statewide Webcast and mini-conference titled "Perspectives on Present and Future Corn-Based Ethanol Industry." It's scheduled for Monday, Nov. 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Ames. The Webcast will be available at ISU Extension offices all over Iowa.
Ethanol expansion is changing Iowa
Primary emphasis is on the current economic situation and potential impact of a corn-based ethanol industry. "Experts with many perspectives will address the corn ethanol complex and its near-term prospects and challenges," says Hallam. "No matter how you consider the issues, Iowa agriculture is in for a wild ride over the next five years."
The program looks at how ethanol will fuel Iowa's future. Five main topics on the corn-based ethanol industry will be covered:
- Current overview. Ethanol's share of the gasoline market, cost and supply implications and the share of corn crop used for ethanol production are some of the issues.
- Industry expansion. Along with discussing financing and planning, increased capacity is a major issue. Structure of the ethanol, feed and livestock industries during the transition period will be covered. This transition will occur over the next three to five years. Long-run implications of changes in these sectors and the effect on Iowa's ag economy will be discussed.
- Global, local impact. What will be the effect on corn and oilseed markets, including food, feed and fuel? The impact of new, higher grain prices on domestic and international food prices and the market implications of crop failures and changing world markets will be analyzed.
- Livestock feeding. What are implications of using high protein corn coproducts for livestock? Will nutritional, environmental and economic impacts arise?
- Roadblocks to expansion. Obstacles to expanding the corn-based ethanol industry related to transportation, warehousing and logistics infrastructure will be talked about.
Focus is on corn-based ethanol
Several ISU economists will contribute to these discussions including John Miranowski, John Lawrence, Robert Wisner, Dermot Hayes, Robert Jolly, Roger Ginder and Paul Gallagher. If you want to attend this conference contact your local ISU Extension office to register. A fee will be collected at the door.
A number of ISU Extension county offices have signed up to carry the program. The list will be reviewed and updated weekly until Nov. 13. For information contact your county ISU Extension office or the ISU Web site www.extension.iastate.edu/news/2006.