THE Queensland Renewable Fuels Association (QRFA) has commenced discussions over the effect the Queensland ethanol fuels mandate introduced at the beginning of the year has on agricultural industries such as grain and livestock.
It has introduced an initial 3pc ethanol mandate for regular petrol and half a per cent for bio-based diesel.
QRFA managing director, Larissa Rose, said the ethanol industry did impact agricultural industries but not how it was often perceived.
“Ethanol production can slightly raise grain prices, which supports a stronger rural economy by supporting grain farmers,” she said.
“This price increase has prompted farmers around the world to expand planted acreage of grains in order to keep the supply and demand in balance.
“Both spot and forward grain markets have developed to a large extent, giving opportunity to both Australian farmers and Australian grain users to manage their grain price exposures.
“Ethanol production creates jobs, builds a stronger main street and because it helps improve the price of grain, it improves the income of grain farmers, who put money back into their local community.”
How ethanol benefits the livestock sector is by the production of distillers grain which is a high fat, high protein and high fibre feedstock used to feed cattle worldwide.
This process is when starch is removed from the grain and converted to sugar to ferment into ethanol.
“As the old saying goes ‘a rising tide carries all ships.’ A strong rural economy makes all agriculture more sustainable,” Ms Rose said.
“The agriculture industry will always be affected by other sectors but what needs to be considered most is that by supporting the ethanol industry you are supporting the Australian economy, environment and farmers.”
Studies have shown that 80 per cent of the revenue generated from an ethanol plant is spent within a 100-kilometre radius of the plant.
That translates into direct investment back into local business and the economy.
Source: QRFA, www.qrfa.com.au