What exactly is DDGS?
Posted 12 June 2013 in
Last week, US Department of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack spoke at the National Press Club calling for farmers to respond to the impacts of climate change and start adapting now. Across the country rising temperatures, crippling droughts and severe storms are changing American agriculture. Farmers are experiencing shortened growing seasons and prohibitive environmental factors. Without a strategy to both mitigate this disaster and adapt to ever changing conditions, the American agriculture industry will suffer.
Luckily, America’s farmers are on the case. As we’ve documented previously, the ingenuity and innovation of our agriculture industry has produced impressive results when it comes to sustainability. According to a report by Field to Market, over the course of 30 years corn production has doubled while land use has actually decreased by a third and water use by one-half.
The Renewable Fuel Standard has encouraged another kind of efficiency. Dried distiller grains or DDGS, is a co-product of ethanol production that serves as a nutritious, low-cost feed for livestock. In fact, over one-third of the corn used in ethanol production returns to the food system in the form of DDGS. Last year more than 39 million metric tons of animal feed was produced at ethanol plants and more than half of that feed was used in the beef industry, bringing down the cost to both the farmer and consumer.
The impact of extreme weather on the nation’s agricultural industry could be catastrophic without significant effort from the community. The Renewable Fuel Standard is the one policy in the United States that encourages domestically-produced alternatives to oil to help mitigate the disasters of fossil fueled climate change. It also benefits the agricultural community by promoting sustainable practices and lowering costs.
The American farmer is resilient, but Secretary Vilsack is right; we need to be ahead of the game, armed with policies like the RFS to allow for continued mitigation, adaptation and sustainable farming practices.
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