Iowa Biofuels Keep Economy Strong in 2023

Signs of Softness in Commodity Demand Should Be Wake Up Call 

Contact: Emma Koehler

JOHNSTON, IA – Iowa biofuels production continues to support a strong rural economy according to a new economic study released today.

John Urbanchuk of ABF Economics conducted the study, commissioned by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA). The study found: “The importance of the renewable fuels industry to agriculture and rural economies such as Iowa is particularly notable.” Specifically, biofuels production:

  • Accounts for more than $6.5 billion, or about 3 percent, of Iowa GDP
  • Generates $3.2 billion of income for Iowa households; and
  • Supports almost 52,000 jobs throughout the entire Iowa economy.

“Even as the value of commodity purchases dropped along with commodity prices, biofuels producers continue to play a critical role in supporting Iowa’s rural economy and farmers,” said IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. “With commodity production increasing faster than demand, Iowa needs to focus on creating new market opportunities, including higher blends, exports and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).”

In 2023, Iowa ethanol production increased to a record-breaking 4.6 billion gallons, up from the previous record of 4.5 billion gallons in 2022. Iowa biodiesel production kept steady at 350 million gallons, nearly the same as the 349 million gallons produced in 2022.

“Development of new markets also is good news for Iowa corn growers as overproduction has led to increased ending stocks of corn at roughly 2.2 billion bushels and the largest one-year decline in corn prices in a decade,” Urbanchuk wrote in the study. “Finally, enabling carbon capture and sequestration pipelines will allow the development of new markets such as Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), a potentially massive market that can ensure future growth opportunities for Iowa biofuels and farmers.”

To view the full study, click here.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association represents the state’s liquid renewable fuels industry and works to foster its growth. Iowa is the nation’s leader in renewable fuels production with 42 ethanol refineries capable of producing 4.7 billion gallons annually – including 34 million gallons of annual cellulosic ethanol production capacity – and 10 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce 416 million gallons annually. For more information, visit the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association website at: