For some of our world’s most pressing problems, you won’t have to look very far to see farmers in our region and those in our agricultural industry spearheading innovative solutions.
For thousands of years, agriculture has been the backbone of our economies and societies. With increasing gas prices, concerns over climate change, and volatility in markets across the globe, we once again find ourselves in challenging times and farmers in the spotlight.
Biofuels are the just latest in a long history of ingenuity and solutions by America’s farmers. Homegrown fuel like low-carbon ethanol allows us to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, lower prices at the pump, reduce carbon emissions, and support American farmers.
Minnesota is a long-time leader, both in producing and utilizing biofuels like E15.
Earlier this month, the federal government announced it was lifting its restriction on the sale of E15 during the summer, allowing ethanol-blends to be sold all year long. This increased access to E15 means more options at the pump, fewer carbon emissions, and stronger sales for retailers.
It’s a win-win-win for Minnesota farmers, fuel retailers, and Minnesotans across the entire state. In fact, more E15 could add to Minnesota’s 23,500 jobs supported by ethanol, adding $313 million in GDP to Minnesota’s economy. Shifting to E15 in Minnesota could also drive demand for an additional 43 million bushels of corn annually, providing a critical market to Minnesota corn farmers for more of their crop.
Economic benefits aside, renewable fuels are also good for the environment and play a vital role in achieving Minnesota’s climate goals. Biofuels like E15 burn cleaner than traditional gasoline, producing less smog and improving the air quality around us.
And as a biodegradable, the remaining fat and fiber resulting from ethanol production from corn is actually used as a valuable high-protein animal feed for cattle, hogs, poultry, and even fish by farmers all across Minnesota.
This fuel offers motorists a simple, affordable way to cut their own environmental footprint and do so in a sustainable manner. It’s a money-saving solution everyone can enjoy immediately with long-term benefits.
At GreenSeam, we work side-by-side with Minnesota farmers and the agricultural industry at large in our area to promote and empower stronger communities. That’s why we are proud to support efforts to boost access to biofuels like E15 that can reduce gas prices, bolster Minnesota’s farm economy, and reduce emissions today.
We shouldn’t wait for the next big geopolitical conflict to understand the value that biofuels offer for Minnesotans. We need to do everything we can to continue to promote and support farm-friendly fuel options like E15 and make it more available to all consumers across the great state of Minnesota.
Sam Ziegler is director of GreenSeam, an economic development nonprofit organization aimed at promoting and growing agribusiness in an area of southern Minnesota and northern Iowa.