September 17, 2015

Nebraska's Golden Triangle Benefits Renewable Fuels

September is Renewable Fuels Month!
Part Two of a Four-Part Series for Renewable Fuels Month

Nebraska’s economic prosperity is deeply rooted in agriculture. Very few states can stake claim to the high rankings and diverse production that Nebraska consistently maintains year after year. Besides taking the top ranking in cattle on feed, in 2014, Nebraska also ranked first in popcorn and Great Northern dry edible bean production.

Last year, Nebraska ranked third in corn production and fifth in soybean production, accounting for nearly 12 percent of the nation’s corn bushels and almost 8 percent of the nation’s soybean bushels. Nebraska’s centralized location, access to water, and fertile soils make it a natural hub for crops, livestock and biofuels production – all of which make up Nebraska’s Golden Triangle.

“No state is better situated with crops, livestock and renewable fuels than Nebraska,” said David Bruntz, farmer from Friend, Nebraska and secretary/treasurer on the Nebraska Corn Board. “Nebraska ranked second nationally in ethanol and distillers grains production in 2014. These production rankings clearly illustrate the interdependent nature of the biofuels and feed industries.”

Farmers have solid, established markets for corn – ethanol and livestock – while the two-dozen ethanol plants across our state then provide renewable fuel and a feed ingredient for the livestock industry, giving cattle feeders in Nebraska more feed options and an advantage over feeders in other states.

Soybean acres in Nebraska are up nearly 13 percent from last year. Not only do soybean farmers expect a large crop, but they also expect to find a market for that large crop as well. Roughly 97 percent of domestic soybean meal goes to feeding poultry, hogs and other livestock.

The majority of the oil from soybeans continues to be used for human consumption, but biodiesel production has increased significantly over the last few years, helping to alleviate a glut of soybean oil that remained on the market. In fact, roughly one quarter of all soybean oil is now used to produce biodiesel.  According to a study conducted by the USDA, the increased usage of biodiesel has returned nearly $0.74 per bushel to soybean farmers while decreasing the price of meal by $21 per ton.

Eugene Goering, a soybean farmer from Platte Center, Nebraska and chairman of the Domestic Marketing Committee for the Nebraska Soybean Board, thinks Nebraska’s Golden Triangle makes perfect sense. “Agricultural production in Nebraska is part of a very dynamic system, a system in which soybeans, corn, and biofuels production can fit in perfectly with livestock production. We can market our crops locally, create jobs locally and keep some of these tax dollars in our communities.”

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