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A study done by four University of Nebraska-Lincoln economists shows the state's ethanol industry has been growing over the past three years, despite lower corn prices.

According to the study, which was made public this week, ethanol production capacity in Nebraska increased by 23 percent from 2015-17, and the industry added 152 full-time jobs. Total production of 2.076 billion gallons in 2017 was an all-time high, barely eclipsing the previous peak of 2.062 billion gallons in 2011.

On the other hand, because of lower corn prices, the value of ethanol and co-products produced in the state declined from 2016-17, even though the output was higher.

The study also looked at ethanol's overall effect on local and state economies.

The research found that the ethanol market drives higher corn prices for farmers who live near a plant because of higher demand.

For example, according to the study, a farmer near an ethanol plant producing 220 bushels of corn per acre would receive an additional $11.44 per acre each year.

On a state level, the industry accounted for $30 million in indirect business taxes in both 2016 and 2017, although those amounts were lower than the annual amount from 2010-2014.

To see the full study, go to: agecon.unl.edu/ethanolimpacts

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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