Field Corn: Illinois Corn Growers Association

Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 12:19 PM CST
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(25 NEWS) - When you think farming, you think corn. Now, we’re going to talk field corn with Illinois Corn Growers Association Director of Communications Lindsay Mitchell.

“In Illinois. we are very lucky that we grow mostly field corn here. I know that a lot of folks are interested or have their most experience with sweet corn, which is the corn that they’re eating on their table.

But in Illinois, we’re growing field corn, which is the corn that we feed to livestock, or that we make into Fritos, or that we’re putting in our fuel tanks.

So 99% of the corn is field corn. We are using a large percentage of that in Illinois to make ethanol.

And that ethanol is what I think is great about it is that when you go to the fuel pump and you’re going to fuel up your tank, you’re actually fueling up with something that’s locally grown. So I know a lot of people feel good about supporting the local economy and doing things for their neighbors that they feel really good about. Ethanol is a locally grown fuel that actually yields benefits back to rural communities in Illinois.

Another thing that we really enjoy about ethanol is that it is a clean-burning fuel so you can go on YouTube and look up videos about ethanol burning versus other fuels.

Ethanol burns with almost zero smoke. You know the things that you would see coming out of your tailpipe with a petroleum-based fuel that you’re not going to have that when you’re burning 100% ethanol.

Now our cars do not run on 100% ethanol. When you get to the fuel pump, you’re going to see a 10% ethanol blend, which is most of the fuel in Illinois. But sometimes there are opportunities actually for you to get a 15% ethanol blend. Most gas stations would call that unleaded 88, and that fuel is going to be cheaper for consumers .And it’s also going to burn cleaner for consumers than even in E10, which is a 10% ethanol blend.

So again, the more ethanol you can get in your fuel, the cheaper your food is going to be, the cleaner your fuel is going to be and the more locally grown fuel you’re going to be using.

All cars, model year 2001 and newer can run on E15. So one of the things that we hear from consumers is that, you know, we just don’t know what fuel our gas stations will take, and we don’t want to miss your vehicle. Rest assured that if you have a vehicle that’s 2001 or newer model year 2001 or newer, you will be able to put E15 in your fuel tank and your car is going to run perfectly and you’re going to get all of those benefits for local economies and for the environment.

Cornfields to ethanol production -- what that process looks like is farmers growing the corn. They’re actually selling it to an ethanol plant. There are multiple ethanol plants right here in Illinois, and then the ethanol plants are distilling that corn into an alcohol fuel.

So at times in the distillation process, that ethanol actually looks like a liquor that you would drink. So it’s 100% alcohol fermentation process. And so then eventually, as the fuel process manufacturing process continues, that fuel gets to your local retail fuel station.

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