One of the largely touted benefits of the ethanol industry is the economic viability that it brings to rural America, but, according to Dr. John Lawrence, director of the Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University, that contribution is more than negated when it comes at the expense of the existing livestock industry.
Comparing operation to operation, Lawrence said livestock actually provides more direct jobs to a rural community than ethanol does. On average, Lawrence said a 50-million-gallon ethanol facility provides 35 direct jobs and 98 indirect and induced jobs, for a total of 133 total regional jobs. A beef feedlot in a community provides for 140 direct jobs, a farrow-to-finish pork operation some 400 direct jobs and a wean-to-finish operation 120 direct jobs. Add in indirect and induced jobs for the livestock sector along with employment related to further processing and the livestock industry provides for far more of an overall economic benefit.
Rural communities need both ethanol and livestock, Lawrence told some 400 people gathered for the National Grain & Feed Association's meeting in Chicago, Ill.