July 29, 2012
Letter: Ethanol critics miss the mark
Published in The State Journal-Register
Steve Ring’s column, “Drought should spur debate on ethanol,” in Wednesday’s newspaper fails to make a credible connection between ethanol production and the food supply. While the author is entitled to his opinion, he is not entitled to distort the truth.
Ethanol critics need a dose of reality. Of the total U.S. crop planted, less than 1 percent is sweet corn. However, more than 99 percent is No. 2 yellow corn or field corn, primarily used to feed livestock and poultry. And only 1.5 percent of that yield is used in actual food production.
The Renewable Fuels Standard is flexible by design, and the market is responding — ethanol production has slowed, and with a surplus of 1 billion gallons and more than 3 billion Renewable Identification Numbers available, obligated parties can meet the RFS volume requirements.
In the case of rising food prices, to suggest any meaningful impact from ethanol production is flagrantly false. Recently, General Mills chief executive Ken Powell estimated that food prices would increase by 2 percent to 3 percent, noting “consumers should see generally stable prices.”
The author, a manager at a feed facility owned by pork producers, is hardly an objective voice and has a vested interest in low-cost corn. After years of government-subsidized prices, the feed industry is unhappy about paying market price. It is disgraceful that the feed industry is kicking family farmers when they are down. In time of crisis, the agriculture community should be pulling together instead of tearing others down.
Jim Nussle, president and COO, Growth Energy, Washington, D.C.