Economic Tidbits

Ethanol a $3.57 Billion Business

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Economists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln report the total economic output of Nebraska’s ethanol industry was $3.57 billion in 2017. The finding comes from a study examining the impact of Nebraska’s ethanol industry between 2015 and 2017. The study was funded with a grant from the Nebraska Ethanol Board. According to the researchers, ethanol production capacity in Nebraska increased 23 percent since 2014, reaching 2.56 billion gallons in 2017. In 2017, the state’s 24 ethanol plants produced 2.076 billion gallons of ethanol employing 1,453 employees. Figure 1 illustrates the growth in Nebraska ethanol production since 2006.

In terms of the ethanol industry’s overall economic impact, 3,508 jobs in 2017 were attributable to the industry either directly or through other sectors linked to the ethanol industry. Total output associated with the industry ranged from $3.42 billion to $6.7 billion between 2010 and 2017. From 2015 to 2017, net returns to the industry fluctuated from $-0.20 per gallon to $0.20 per gallon (Figure 4). A copy of the study can be found here.

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Source: Economic Impacts of the Nebraska Ethanol and Ethanol Co-Products Industry 2015-2017; Kathleen Brooks, Tim Meyer and Cory Walters, UNL Department of Agricultural Economics, Eric Thompson, UNL Bureau of Business Research.

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