International Audience Hears About the Importance of Distillers Grains

Renewable Fuels Association Vice President Geoff Cooper says distillers grains and other ethanol co-products have become a tremendously important component of the global animal feed market. Speaking to a crowd of more than 500 feed producers, marketers and buyers from around the world at the Export Exchange - Cooper shared that the American ethanol industry produced nearly 39-million tons of nutrient-dense animal feed in the 2011-12 marketing year. He said that means the ethanol industry surpassed the U.S. soybean crushing industry in terms of feed production. According to Cooper - the feed produced by the ethanol industry is nourishing beef, dairy, swine, poultry and fish around the world - with about a quarter of the feed co-products generated last year exported to more than 50 countries.

Cooper also highlighted the U.S. ethanol industry's response to the historic drought of 2012. Cooper said there is a belief that the ethanol industry is insulated from the effects of the drought and high corn prices because of the Renewable Fuel Standard. But he said corn use for ethanol dropped by almost 15-percent as crop conditions deteriorated and corn prices increased. He said that means the industry reduced its corn consumption by about 600 to 700-million bushels on an annualized basis in less than two months. A waiver of the RFS - Cooper added - wouldn't have any meaningful impact on corn prices or availability. But if a waiver was granted and ethanol and biodiesel production were reduced - he pointed out that prices of distillers grains and soybean meal would increase and net feed costs might actually increase for some livestock and poultry feeders.

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