Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska

Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska

Corn Helps Fuel Animal Agriculture

April 29, 2013Crops, Farmers and Ranchers

Livestock is one of the corn grower’s most important customers, consuming more than 41 percent of all U.S. corn, including the supply of distillers grains, which are produced by corn ethanol plants.

In Nebraska, livestock production is the engine that powers the state’s economy. It is a $7.5 billion-plus industry that is fundamental to the well-being of Nebraska – and contributes in some way to the financial health of every Nebraskan.

“Nebraska is well suited for livestock production,” said Dennis Gengenbach, farmer director on the Nebraska Corn Board from Smithfield, NE, who is both a corn farmer and cow/calf producer.

“We have the land, the corn, the ethanol co-product distillers grains and the processing  infrastructure necessary to be a national and global leader.”

About 16 percent of Nebraska’s corn crop is fed to in-state livestock, with the bulk of that (more than 70 percent) going to beef cattle. In total, though, about 40 percent of the corn grown in

Nebraska is fed to livestock somewhere in the United States or around the world.

Another major user of corn is ethanol – but one-third of every bushel used in ethanol  production comes back as distillers grains. Nebraska ethanol plants use only the starch portion of the kernel, returning the other components to the livestock industries as a high protein feed ingredient.

Because the livestock industry is so important to corn farmers and the state as a whole, the Nebraska Corn Board supports research into the best ways livestock producers can take advantage of corn co-products. The results of these efforts include four co-product manuals and the support of other outreach efforts by the University of Nebraska.

Just as significant as feeding corn and its co-products to livestock is developing markets for Nebraska beef and pork overseas. After all, sending corn-fed beef and pork to international customers around the world has a larger economic impact than exporting raw corn and corn co-products.

Nebraska’s livestock and poultry producers contribute billions of dollars to the state’s economy, adding value to local feed ingredients like corn and corn co-products, and using local labor and services. Supporting – and growing – the state’s livestock and poultry industry, in turn, supports corn producers by maintaining and expanding this important market for corn and corn co-products.

“There are a lot of advantages to transforming corn and the ethanol coproduct distillers grains into a higher value product like corn-fed beef,” said Gengenbach. “It provides positive economic activity that’s good for rural communities and the state as a whole. It’s to all our advantage to keep Nebraska beef, dairy, pork and poultry at the center of the plate here at home and around the world.”

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