Local corn farmers drive economic development
Friday, October 05, 2012
By Justin R. Lessman (October 04, 2012) | Lakefield Standard
The term “economic development” is all the buzz these days, especially as the state and nation struggle to emerge from a lingering recession and even more so as election day draws near.
Politicians tout grandiose plans to stimulate business and lower unemployment rates. Local government agencies offer subsidies and tax breaks to encourage industry expansion and create and retain jobs. Committees and boards and groups and organizations hash over how best to attract workers to live, shop and play locally.
All the while, amid all the buzz and debates and business subsidy agreements and committee meetings, Jackson County corn farmers bring in the harvest, seeing to the business of economic development themselves.
“As the state continues to emerge from the recession, corn farmers and ethanol production occupy a critical role in this economic recovery,” said John Mages, president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association. “Minnesota corn farmers are a strong economic engine in our state, driving an enormous amount of activity in many other sectors of our economy.”
The total effect corn farming has on the economy of Minnesota includes economic activity generated by corn farming directly, as well as the economic activity brought about as a result of corn farming in the state — for instance, production and sales of goods and services brought about by corn production, as well as increased economic activity made possible because of the sale of those goods and services.
Consider these statistics compiled by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture:
• Each dollar of Minnesota’s corn production generates a total of $1.80 in all economic activities.
• Every $1 million in corn production supports 15 jobs across all economic sectors in Minnesota.
• The total economic impact from corn and ethanol production is estimated at $12.06 billion, with an employment impact of 70,225 jobs.
Those are powerful — albeit oft-overlooked — numbers.
Let’s not overlook them any longer.
Indeed, after the debates have ended, the business subsidy agreements have been signed and the committee meetings have ended for the night, let us cast an appreciative glance at the combine out in the corn field, bringing in a harvest that truly benefits us all.