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MDA report offers positive economic news about corn and ethanol industries

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Minnesota's corn and ethanol industries support more than 70,000 jobs and contribute $12 billion to the state's economy, according to a report from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA).

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"In times of economic difficulty, it is important to keep an eye on the areas where Minnesota's economy is showing promise," MDA Commissioner Gene Hugoson said. "Corn production and processing is one of the real success stories for the state economy, and continues to generate impressive growth."

Among the findings of the report:

•Minnesota ranks fourth in the nation in corn production and sixth in corn processing.

•Corn is Minnesota's top crop, representing 31 percent of the state's total crop acreage and 49 percent of the overall value of Minnesota's 2007 crop production.

•Minnesota farmers harvested a record 1.14 billion bushels of corn in 2007.

•Minnesota exported 50 percent of the 2007 corn crop, while another 22 percent was processed and 20 percent was fed to the state's livestock.

•Minnesota corn production increased at an annual rate of 9.4 percent from 1990 to 2007, nearly double the national average of 5 percent.

•Due to in-state processing of corn into value-added products such as ethanol, more than $500 million was added to the value of Minnesota's corn crop in 2007.

•Minnesota ranked 5th nationally in 2007 ethanol production.

•Minnesota's ethanol plants produced 670 million gallons of ethanol in 2007.

The report highlights the benefit Minnesota receives from having strong crop and livestock sectors. Livestock support steady demand for corn as feed, while the state's strong corn production provides livestock producers with a reliable source of high-quality feed.

"One of the biggest strengths of our agricultural economy is the balance between crop and livestock production," Commissioner Hugoson said. "The strength of one benefits the other, and that is why it is so important for us to do what we can to ensure that both sectors remain healthy and competitive."

The report was compiled by MDA staff economist Su Ye, using IMPLAN economic modeling software to assess the economic contributions of corn and ethanol production in the state. A full copy of the report is available on the MDA Web site at www.mda.state.mn.uswww.mda.state.mn.us.

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