By: Ray Gaesser President of the Iowa Conservative Energy Forum
I have been growing in rural Iowa for more than 50 years. During that time, I saw the important role Iowa agriculture plays both regionally and nationally. For example, Iowa leads the nation in ethanol production with 57% of the corn grown in the state bought from ethanol plants, which create nearly 27% of all ethanol produced in the United States. Additionally, farmland in the Midwest is some of the most valuable in the world. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the average value per acre of farmland in Iowa increased 8.9% from 2020 to 2021.
Over the past two decades, I have seen firsthand the struggles facing rural communities as they fight the decline of both population and tax base. Carbon sequestration technology offers the state and rural communities a way to address these struggles, while helping Iowa corn farmers maintain current corn markets and also generate many new markets.
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The Summit Carbon Solution project is one of many opportunities that can address the aforementioned struggles facing our rural communities. This project is a $ 987 million investment in our state, generating an average of more than $ 1 million in new property taxes per year for all counties through which the path flows. This additional money could then be used to help local school districts and road, road and other infrastructure projects.
Most importantly, these investments will also help generations of farmers as they aim to reduce the carbon intensity of ethanol production. In turn, this will allow producers to sell in profitable low-carbon fuel markets while maintaining a strong end market for corn. Simply put, such investments allow the family farm the opportunities it needs to stay in the family for decades to come.
Unfortunately, there are special interest groups working to prevent the construction of the Summit Carbon Solutions project because they oppose ethanol and do not support the Iowa farmers who feed and feed the world. These special interest groups spread disinformation to landowners and elected officials.
To set the record straight, there are some important details that landowners and elected officials need to know. The project has public support, securing additional voluntary easements every day with now more than 700 voluntarily registered Iowa landowners and nearly 1,500 total landowners across the Midwest. The project will have a huge economic benefit locally and regionally by creating more than 11,000 jobs during construction and approximately 1,100 permanent jobs once operational and the project will not be used for advanced oil recovery.
As president of the Iowa Conservative Energy Forum, our organization’s goal is to pursue a cutting-edge energy approach to ensure that Iowa can be independent and energy-safe. By supporting such innovative technology, we enable our farmers to lead the way towards these goals.
I want our children and future generations of our families to have more opportunities than we do. Carbon sequestration is that opportunity. It is an opportunity to create stable corn prices; it is an opportunity to increase the values of our land and, above all, it is an opportunity to allow us to maintain our family farms.
I encourage all elected officials to do their own research and block out the noise from groups that have made it clear that they do not support ethanol or Iowa agriculture. By supporting the Summit Carbon Solutions project, you are supporting the future of Iowa’s farmers.
Ray Gaesser has more than 50 years of agricultural experience and resides in Corning, Iowa. Ray has supported agriculture in Iowa and the United States locally, nationally and globally as former president of the American Soybean Association and the Iowa Soybean Association. In 2018, Ray was nominated for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. Gesser Farms continues to test and implement the latest technology, equipment, seeds, innovations and practices to grow more while preserving and improving our resources.