Corn Marketing Program of Michigan: Paving the way
The Corn Marketing Program of Michigan (CMPM) undertakes education, research and marketing programs to strengthen Michigan’s corn industry and grow farmers’ bottom lines.
In Michigan, nearly 40 percent of our annual corn crop goes to make ethanol. Distillers dried grains (DDGS) are also a valuable co-product of the ethanol process. DDGS go right back into the food system as a high-protein animal feed. There is still a lot of room for growth in the ethanol industry, which would translate into more demand for corn.
CMPM is working heavily on expanding this market through initiatives aimed at growing demand domestically, expanding existing foreign markets and developing new and emerging international markets.
One way that CMPM is expanding ethanol demand is by participating in the Ag Auto Ethanol workgroup. This group is made up of auto and equipment manufacturers, chemical companies, seed companies, ethanol companies and corn checkoff groups from various states. It serves as a forum for building relationships, identifying barriers to the expansion of ethanol use and determining how to overcome them.
The group has successfully identified a series of barriers to wider adoption of higher blends of ethanol fuels and a timeline of activities to overcome those barriers. The group has also passed High Octane Low Carbon Fuel, which is an ethanol blend, through the American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM) so that it can be used by EPA as a test fuel when certifying engine mileage and emissions. Moving forward, the group is working to define these ASTM standards.
The workgroup is also pushing to expand the current waiver on Reid Vapor Pressure to include E15.
Without the waiver, E15 can only be sold as regular fuel for half the year, and has to be sold as flex fuel for the other half. This is a significant barrier to selling the fuel to consumers because it creates confusion at the pump and prevents owners of non-flex fuel vehicles from using the fuel.
The availability of infrastructure is another key barrier. To help overcome this, CMPM funded the installation of E85 pumps, flex fuel pumps and underground storage tanks for ethanol, and marquee signage at stations.
CMPM also launched a consumer-focused website to provide accurate information about ethanol to the general public.
Radio advertisements during Detroit Tigers games and on Michigan Radio help take the message to consumers who don’t live near farms and who may have been exposed to myths and misinformation about ethanol. You can find this information at www.MichiganCraftFuel.org.
CMPM is working to expand markets for ethanol and DDGS in foreign countries. This work takes place through national organizations including the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) which receives CMPM funding.
USGC builds the relationships on the ground that help increase our exports of corn, ethanol and DDGS to foreign trading partners. This includes everything from putting foreign buyers in touch with U.S. sellers to educating regulators about how to use ethanol fuels in their countries.
USGC is also helping open new foreign markets for ethanol. For example, in countries struggling with air quality issues, USGC has helped educate them about how ethanol reduces air pollution. They have also worked with livestock farmers in foreign countries to show them the benefits of feeding DDGS to livestock.
Find Out More
To find out more, visit CMPM online at www.micorn.org, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/michigancorn or on Twitter @MI_Corn.