October 06, 2012
Editorial: Ethanol is working
Published in Chicago Tribune
The recent editorial "A crop shortage should provoke policy changes. Are you listening, Congress?" paints a dire picture that forecasts food shortages and civil unrest. Sounds quite alarmist and serious.
However, to the objective eye, this dire forecast is nothing more than hyperbole and hype. Once again, the critics are trying to tie ethanol production to rising commodity costs. Biofuels are not driving up the price of corn; it is Mother Nature, who handed family farmers the most severe drought in the last fifty years.
It seems it may be the editorial board members who aren't listening. Just last week, as reported by the Worldwatch Institute, “Global grain production is expected to reach a record high of 2.4 billion tons in 2012, an increase of 1 percent from 2011 levels.” This alone shows that despite a devastating drought by the largest grain producing nation in the world, farmers are producing record global yields. This report alone undercuts the editorial board’s entire premise.
If the editorial board is suggesting that the government should inject itself in the free market and ration commodities by dictating to America’s family farmers who they can sell their grain to, then they should just say so. It is always best to be direct.
The Renewable Fuel Standard is the most successful energy policy this nation has enacted in the last forty years. Not only has it sharply decreased our dependence on foreign oil, it has created more than 400,000 good paying jobs here at home that cannot be outsourced. Not to mention it is better for our environment, drives investment in the next generation of biofuels, while currently providing consumers a choice and savings at the pump.
Ethanol demand has increased production of corn in the U.S. and around the world. American agriculture exports last year were an all-time record. The American farm economy is healthy, recording record farm income. American consumers pay less per capita than any other country for food. Our grocery stores are well stocked. American agriculture is the envy of the world. Yet the editorial is critical. Future fact checking is needed next time, before the Tribune makes additional unrealistic and inaccurate claims.
-- Tom Buis, CEO, Growth Energy, Washington, DC