A new study by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University says the emergence of biofuels like ethanol has impacted the way grain is moved in the state. I.S.U. professor Chad Hart co-wrote the study that found a growing number of farmers are buying their own trucks and bypassing grain elevators as they transport their corn and soybeans to market.
"We see much more direct marketing of crops by farmers to the processors of those crops, so to the ethanol plants and to the biodiesel plants. Nearly a third of all Iowa corn and soybeans are now directly marketed by farmers to these processors," Hart says. Hart is an assistant professor of agricultural economics, and says the change in grain transportation has an impact on state roadways.
"We are seeing a lot more semi-truck traffic throughout the state and it’s something that has been building over the past several years, so we do see larger grain loads being moved by truck and they tend to be headed in all directions," Hart says. The study says that increased investment by the state to improve rural roads will be crucial as the heavy truck traffic continues to carry grain across the state.
You can see the full report at the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development website