Fields of dreams: Negotiating an ethanol agenda in the Midwest United States

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63 Scopus citations


Corn ethanol production is central in the United States' agrofuels initiatives. In this paper I discuss corn ethanol production in Iowa, USA and examine several dynamics: farmers' positions in agrofuel supply chains; struggles around the construction and operation of agrofuel refineries; the politics of ethanol production and regulation; and the ecological consequences of increased corn production. I argue that current US agrofuels production and politics reinforce longstanding and unequal political economic relationships in industrial agriculture. I also argue that the politics of US agrofuels, focused on carbon accounting for greenhouse gas reduction and energy security, privilege urban and other actors' social and ecological interests over those of rural places of production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)723-748
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Peasant Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Agriculture
  • Agrofuels
  • Biofuels
  • Corn
  • Environmental governance
  • Ethanol
  • Iowa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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