Expanding the ethanol industry may influence long-term trends in the livestock industry

A map of the U.S. showing ethanol production capacity and corn acreage in 2002.

Access to distiller's wet grains (a derivative of ethanol processing used as a feed supplement for beef and dairy cattle) could spur increased concentrations of beef and dairy herds near ethanol processing facilities. Spreading manure on energy feedstock crops and potential use of animal waste for onsite power generation provide additional incentives for herd expansion near processing facilities. Ethanol's reliance on corn as the primary feedstock and the high concentration of ethanol processing facilities in the Corn Belt could slow or reverse the recent shift in animal concentrations from the Midwest. In fact, current and planned ethanol production capacities appear to correlate strongly with the presence of livestock and, in particular, with livestock's capacity for distiller's grain consumption. This map is from the ERS research report, Ethanol and a Changing Agricultural Landscape, ERR-86, November 2009.

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