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Key Issues


Renewable fuels, exemplified by corn ethanol, stand as an immediate solution to combat climate change. Serving as a clean, low-carbon energy source and an economically viable domestic fuel option, ethanol emerges as a pivotal contributor to a sustainable future, particularly for agricultural and rural communities in America.

The conviction among U.S. corn farmers regarding the efficacy of higher ethanol blends stems from ethanol’s capacity to enhance engine performance while mitigating environmental footprints, all while offering cost savings for consumers. With unwavering dedication, corn farmers strive to ensure that consumers have access to fuel options at the pump that maximize the benefits achievable through increased ethanol volumes.

Supporting Colorado’s Corn Farmers

Whether advocating for the market access facilitated by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) or promoting the adoption of higher ethanol blends such as E15, the Colorado Corn Promotion Council is steadfastly supporting Colorado’s corn farmers in expanding ethanol utilization.

Approximately 30% of field corn is directed towards fuel ethanol production annually, making ethanol the second-largest consumer of U.S. corn. Given its unique attributes, corn ethanol is poised to assume a more significant role in shaping the future of transportation fuels.

The ethanol industry has undeniably bolstered the economic well-being of rural communities, particularly in the heartland of America, which hosts a majority of the nation’s corn ethanol plants. With ethanol facilities strategically situated to minimize transportation distances and foster local investment, these plants have become integral to the economic fabric of their surrounding areas, providing a sense of economic independence and bolstering energy security for the nation while concurrently supporting local employment opportunities.

Economic Impact of Ethanol

As a domestic energy sector, ethanol production serves as a catalyst for job creation and economic prosperity throughout the United States, particularly in rural regions. In 2019 alone, the U.S. ethanol industry played a pivotal role in sustaining nearly 349,000 direct and indirect jobs, contributing significantly to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with an infusion of over $43 billion and bolstering household incomes by an impressive $23.3 billion.

Furthermore, the ethanol industry’s economic impact reverberates through government coffers, generating more than $10 billion in tax revenue for federal, state, and local governments, thereby underpinning critical public services and infrastructure development nationwide.

Tour a Colorado Ethanol Plant

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)

Reaching the ambitious target of 36 billion gallons of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) by 2050 presents a formidable challenge. However, historical data showcasing consistent year-over-year yield increases suggest that corn alone possesses the potential to surpass the 3-billion-gallon requirement projected for 2030 by a staggering 150%. Looking ahead to 2050, corn could cover approximately 53% of the estimated 36-billion-gallon demand, all without necessitating the conversion of new land.

In addition to meeting the soaring demand for SAF, this scenario would yield a surplus benefit: the production of an extra 25 million tons of protein, enriching both food and feed supplies. This multifaceted approach not only addresses the aviation industry’s sustainability goals but also contributes to the broader agricultural and environmental landscape by optimizing existing resources efficiently.

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Regulation 85 and Water Quality

Conservation programs and practices are not new to Colorado’s farmers. The corn producers in this state work every year to improve their soil health and the impact of their farm on the land they are using.

Regulation 85, Nutrients Management Control Regulation, authorized the Water Quality Control Commission in 2012 to “promulgate control regulations to describe prohibitions, standards, concentrations, and effluent limitations on the extent of specifically identified pollutants that any person may discharge into any specific class of state waters.”

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) established Reg 85 specifically related to surface waters, and the nutrient discharge that can happen into those waters.

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Rocky Mountain National Park Nitrogen Deposition

Nitrogen emissions stemming from various human activities, notably the release of ammonia in agricultural practices, are contributing to excessive nitrogen deposition in the atmosphere over Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) in Colorado. Since 2006, a collaborative effort has been underway between Colorado’s crop and livestock producers, along with researchers from Colorado State University (CSU), and key stakeholders including the National Park Service (NPS), the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (State), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This joint endeavor aims to mitigate the impacts of nitrogen deposition on RMNP. Through the partnership with Colorado’s agricultural sector, measures can be implemented to reduce nitrogen deposition, thereby enhancing the park’s nutrient balance.


The EPA dropped the Level of Concern (LOC) for atrazine to 3.4 ppb (parts per billion) in waterways. There is no science to back the new level of concern and this extremely low LOC will have dramatic impacts on corn producers’ ability to utilize this crucial tool to control troublesome weeks like kochia and palmer amaranth. The CCPC is working with groups like the Triazine Network to provide the data and science needed to return the LOC to levels in line with rigorous scientific studies that allow corn producers to use this valuable weed management tool.