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Challenges to Producer Ownership of Ethanol and Biodiesel Production Facilities

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 September 2016

Phil Kenkel
Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University
Rodney B. Holcomb
Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University


This study examines the rapidly expanding biofuels industry and identifies challenges for producer-owned biofuel projects. The U.S. ethanol industry has been growing rapidly, and biodiesel production is poised for similar growth. Producer involvement is driven by the desire to add value to farm commodities and the impact of biofuel projects on local grain prices. Local state and federal incentives have also stimulated producer interest. The long-run profitability of biofuel projects is driven by feedstock availability, access to market centers for biofuels, access to markets for coproducts, and utility costs and availability. The rapidly increasing size and scale of ethanol and biodiesel plants make it difficult for producers to fund these projects. Additionally, the development and adoption of new non-grain biofuel technologies may negate some comparative advantages of producers, such as feedstock cost and availability. The geographic expansion of biofuel projects into grain deficit regions will also create additional challenges.

Invited Paper Sessions
Copyright © Southern Agricultural Economics Association 2006

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