Corn Commentary

50 Billion Quarter Pounders from Ethanol Co-Product

The livestock feed generated as a co-product of ethanol production is enough to make 50 billion quarter-pound hamburgers each year, according to a new report from the Renewable Fuels Association.

According to the report, “Fueling a Nation; Feeding the World,” ethanol producers are expected to turn out about 39 million metric tons of livestock feed in the form of distillers grains in the current marketing year. That amount is equivalent to the 4th largest corn crop in the world, and is enough feed to produce 50 billion quarter-pound hamburgers – seven patties for each person on the planet – or enough to produce one chicken breast for every American every day for a year.

This is a message that needs to be shouted from the rooftops because it helps to visualize the point that ethanol uses much less of the nation’s corn supply than simple statistics imply. Last year, ethanol production provided 35 million metric tons (mmt) of livestock feed – more than the total amount of grain consumed by all of the beef cattle in the nation’s feedlots!

In other words, we are producing both food and fuel from every bushel of corn that goes into an ethanol plant. Why don’t people get this?