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University of Minnesota Extension

Economic contribution of Minnesota’s ethanol industry: 2023

Key findings

  • Economic contribution: In 2023, Minnesota’s ethanol industry:
    • Generated $6.6 billion of economic activity through sales, which includes $1.3 billion of income for Minnesota residents
    • Supported 20,914 jobs
    • Contributed $2.5 billion to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP)
  • Benefiting industries: Industries that benefited most from ethanol production include real estate, wholesalers and utilities
  • Tax contribution: Minnesota’s ethanol industry generated an estimated $182.9 million in state and local tax collections in 2023 including:
    • $60.5 million in sales taxes
    • $56.5 million in income taxes
    • $55 million in property taxes
  • Ethanol production: Minnesota’s ethanol production increased to 1,353.4 million gallons in 2023 — a 1% increase from 2022.
  • Revenues and expenditures:  Ethanol plants experienced a slight decline in net return per gallon of ethanol, from $0.35 per gallon in 2022 to $0.31 in 2023
    • Production expenses per gallon declined, primarily driven by lower corn prices.
  • Ethanol’s co-products: Ethanol plants produce fuel (ethanol), protein for animal feed (DDGS), and distillers’ corn oil.
    • Minnesota’s 2023 DDGS supply of 3.99 million tons could support nearly 2 million cows, 2.4 million pigs, and 59.8 million turkeys.
    • For context, Minnesota farms have 2.2 million cattle, 9.1 million pigs, and 39 million head of turkeys. 

About this report

Minnesota, home to 19 ethanol plants, continues to be a national leader in the ethanol industry. In the late 1980s, farmers recognized the value of a new market for their corn and began to form farmer-owned ethanol production plants. An industry that started with less than 1 million gallons of ethanol production has grown to nearly 1.4 billion gallons in 2023. 

Growth in the industry has driven increased economic activity. To measure the contribution of the industry, the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association partnered with University of Minnesota Extension on a study.

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Reviewed in 2024

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