Iowa State Studies Energy Production from Agriculture

A $275,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant will fund research at the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University to evaluate the impact of increased energy production from agriculture.

“This research is critical for national leaders who are making decisions about investments in renewable fuels,” reports Bruce Babcock, director of CARD and professor of economics. “Right now people are asking how high the price of corn is going to go, and what higher corn prices mean for the competitiveness of U.S. livestock producers and our ability to meet export demand. This research will help to provide answers to these questions.” CARD researchers will calculate the breakeven prices of feedstocks, and then use these prices to determine the amount of feedstock that will be produced in the long run.

The project also assesses how shifts of agricultural commodities to energy sources might affect trade, and the impact of financial investment in ethanol and biodiesel facilities on income and employment in rural America.