Livestock is one of the corn grower’s most important customers, consuming more than 41 percent of all U.S. corn, including the supply of distillers grains, which are produced by corn ethanol plants.
In Nebraska, livestock production is the engine that powers state’s economy. It is a more than $7.5 billion industry that is fundamental to the well-being of Nebraska – and contributes in some way to the financial health of every Nebraskan.
About 16 percent of the Nebraska’s corn crop is fed to livestock within Nebraska, with the bulk of that (more than 70 percent) going to beef cattle. For a complete breakdown, click here. In total, though, about 40 percent of the corn grown in Nebraska is fed to livestock somewhere in the United States or around the world.
Another major user of corn is ethanol – but one-third of every bushel used in ethanol production comes back as distillers grain, an outstanding feed ingredient. Nebraska ethanol plants only use the starch portion of the kernel, returning the other components to the livestock industries as a high protein feed ingredient.
Nebraska has more than 5,000 feedyards willing to work with cow-calf producers interested in retaining ownership or partnering on their feeder cattle. They offer competitive feeding rations from the quality feedstuffs available in the state. And now, cow-calf producers nationwide can get an up-close view of the cattle feeding industry in Nebraska, thanks to the six minute video, “Consider the Possibilities – Cattle, Corn and Co-Products – Feeding Cattle in Nebraska”. Click here to learn more and watch the video.
Because the livestock industry is so important to corn farmers and the state as a whole, the Nebraska Corn Board supports research into the best ways livestock producers can take advantage of corn co-products. The results of these efforts include four co-product manuals and the support of other outreach efforts by the University of Nebraska.
Developing Global Markets
Just as important as feeding corn and its co-products to livestock is developing markets for Nebraska beef and pork overseas. After all, sending corn-fed beef and pork to international customers around the world has a larger economic impact than exporting raw corn and corn co-products.
This is why the Nebraska Corn Board became one of the first members of the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) when USMEF was founded in 1979. Since then, the Board has invested several million dollars into USMEF market promotion activities and supported U.S. beef and pork trade missions around the world.
Since Nebraska’s livestock and poultry producers contribute billions of dollars to the state’s economy, adding value to local feed ingredients like corn and corn co-products, and using local labor and services. Supporting – and growing – the state’s livestock and poultry industry, in turn, supports corn producers by maintaining and expanding this important market for corn and corn co-products.
This is why Nebraska Corn Board became a founding supporter of the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (A-FAN). By helping new livestock and poultry producers get started or existing producers expand and fostering educational opportunities on livestock production for consumers, A-FAN is helping Nebraska farmers protect and preserve the quality of life in rural communities.
A-FAN has a new campaign to help inform the public about modern food production and providing honest and open information about the way animals are cared for on Nebraska farms. I am A FAN of Nebraska Agriculture has expanded to primetime TV commercials and short webisodes online that literally show consumers how family farmers in the beef, dairy, pork and poultry industries are taking care of their animals. Check out www.becomeafan.org to watch them!
Here is a list of useful links containing valuable information from our partners in the livestock industry in Nebraska.
Nebraska Poultry Industries