Ethanol production has increased sharply in the United States in the past 10 years, leading to concerns about the expansion of demand for corn resulting in conversion of non-cropland to crop production and the environmental effects of this. However, a new study co-authored by a University of Illinois researcher shows that the overall effects of ethanol production on land-use have been minimal.
The research, published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, looks at the effects of ethanol production capacity and crop prices on land use in the U. S. from 2007 to 2014.
The increase in corn ethanol production has led to concerns that it would raise the price of corn and the demand for cropland; thus making it worthwhile to bring land that was not previously cultivated (such as grasslands) into production, says Madhu Khanna, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics at U of I.
“Studies have simulated the crop price effects of producing 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol and shown that they could lead to large expansion in crop acres,” Khanna said.… Continue reading