Agriculture is Nebraska’s largest industry – and livestock production is the largest sector of agriculture in the state. Livestock production is the No.1 customer for Nebraska corn, either in the form of raw field corn or in the form of distillers grains, a high-quality feed produced at ethanol plants.
Livestock production is a sound economic development strategy for Nebraska. Research shows that Nebraska counties that have a significant level of livestock production also enjoy higher average annual wages and greater tax revenue.
The Nebraska Corn Board supports the state’s livestock industry in a variety of ways including membership in key national/international organizations such as the U.S. Meat Export Federation and the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, partnerships with Nebraska livestock checkoffs and membership organizations, and research projects in conjunction with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Nebraska’s Golden Triangle
No other state can match Nebraska’s powerful combination of corn, ethanol and livestock production—a combination known as “Nebraska’s Golden Triangle.”
The proof? Nebraska’s national ranking in these three major categories:
- 1st in cattle on feed
- 2nd largest ethanol producer
- 3rd largest corn producer
Nebraska corn farmers grow abundant supplies of corn, much of which is delivered to ethanol production plants across the state. In additional to fuel, these plants produce distillers grains, a high protein feed fed primarily to cattle in Nebraska. The cattle consume the feed and produce manure, which is used as a fertilizer to grow more corn – and the cycle continues, generating economic vitality across the entire state.
Conventional ethanol is produced from the starch within the kernels of field corn. The protein and fiber that remain become a high-quality animal feed called distillers grains.
Red Meat Exports
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.