Bob Dinneen recently appeared on John Stossel's program convinced that he would be able to get his points out without editorial bias. Unfortunately, he was wrong. Most of the mainstream media, he says, genuinely don’t understand ethanol. Until that changes, the challenge of breaking through the bias will remain.
Geoff Cooper responds to US ethanol causing "indirect land use change" and the continuous annual reduction in deforestation rates resulting in the lowest point since 1988.
Extreme hot and dry weather across much of the Midwest this summer has caused government and private analysts to significantly reduce their projections of the size of the 2012 corn crop. This white paper briefly examines the potential impacts on the RFS and outlook for the ethanol industry.
An in-depth analysis of U.S. land use patterns released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows total cropland decreased by 34 million acres from 2002 to 2007, the lowest level since USDA began collecting this data 1945. The RFA said the new report is one more addition to the mounting body of evidence that proves increased ethanol production has not resulted in expansion of total U.S. cropland or a decline in grassland and forest.
According to the USDA quarterly grain stocks report released this morning, end stocks of corn for the 2010/2011 marketing year stand at 1.13 billion bushels. That is nearly 200 million bushels higher than many experts were predicting and an indication that the market is working to ensure sufficient supplies of corn remain available for all uses.
Over the past 30 years, and in particular in the past decade, ethanol production has quietly become increasingly efficient. From improvements in corn production to greater efficiencies at ethanol biorefineries, America’s leading renewable fuel is providing more with less.
Despite several anti-biofuels groups trying to spin results, a new study released by the Geneva-based International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) strongly supports the argument that biofuels policy has had almost nothing to do with food price increases in recent years. The study found that “…US ethanol subsidies during this period (2005-2009) had little impact on consumer prices and quite modest impacts on crop prices.”
It is en vogue for many international non-governmental organizations to blame biofuels for food insecurity and price volatility, as though such issues didn’t exist before the advent of biofuel production. Erroneously, many argue that simply stopping biofuel production will halt hunger as we know it. Unfortunately, these groups often contradict themselves and nearly universally fail to address the chief driver of food price increases: the soaring price of oil.
For ethanol interests, the United States Senate was a cauldron of confusion this week. As is often the case in Washington, things are not as they appear. This week's ethanol debate had little to do with ethanol and even less to do with true energy policy. It was old fashioned political theater.
Today was a busy day for ethanol and grain market data junkies. First, USDA released its June supply-demand estimates, which showed a downward revision to 2011 planted and harvested corn acres. Second, government data on April exports of ethanol and distillers grains was released, showing another record month of ethanol exports and huge shipments to Brazil.
Since its very inception, the global biofuels industry has unfairly been portrayed by some ardent detractors as a sector that creates an unavoidable “food vs. fuel” choice. Luddites and Malthusians have suggested that crop-based biofuels simply can’t provide significant volumes of energy for transportation without starving the world’s poor. Unfortunately, these extreme views of biofuels have sometimes been fortified by alarmist rhetoric and doomsday sound bites from leaders of major international organizations, quasi-governmental groups, and NGOs. Against this backdrop, it was quite refreshing to see two reports in the last week that highlight the extraordinary potential of biofuels to serve as agents of rural development and enhancers of food security in developing nations.
Distillers grains have become an important component of the livestock feed market. Still, some in the poultry industry would rather malign this nutrient-rich feed product in the hopes of returning to a day when they could buy corn from farmers below the cost of production. As the RFA pointed out, distillers grains are not going anywhere and their benefit in the livestock feed market cannot be dismissed.
All Americans know it - the price of everything is up today. Many Americans recognize that the price of oil and the price of gasoline dictate the price of everything we buy. But some are seeking to mislead Americans by blaming domestic ethanol production.
Yesterday, USDA’s first estimate of 2011 corn supply and demand; and March ethanol export data was released. The USDA released it's first estimate of the 2011 corn crop, as well as 2011/12 demand. USDA is predicting 92.2 million acres of corn to be planted, 85.1 million harvested acres, and an average yield of 158.7 bushels per acre. This would produce a total crop of 13.5 billion bushels, an all-time record.
America's commitment to ethanol and renewable fuels has been a unparalleled success for rural America. It has created jobs, spurred economic activity, and even given some rural residents a reason and the opportunity to move back home. Yet, critics of ethanol would lead you to believe that ethanol is the scourage of rural America. A new paper from an anti-ethanol group, Food and Water Watch, goes so far as to compare domestic ethanol production to the illegal methamphetamine plague impacting rural areas. Like much of the rhetoric from those opposing ethanol, this paper is not based on the facts and takes poetic license to irresponsible levels.
This morning, the USDA release their April WASDE report, which will likely ease some of the tension in the world corn market, as the report showed that the corn supply and carry-out are generally expected to be larger than most market participants were expecting. The following is the RFA's analysis of the report.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its annual Prospective Plantings report this morning, showing U.S. farmers intend to plant 92.2 million acres of corn, 76.6 million acres of soybeans and 58 million acres of wheat this year. The following is an analysis of the USDA Prospective Plantings report from Renewable Fuels Association Vice President of Research and Analysis Geoff Cooper.
A new pseudo-analysis published by the controversial and discredited Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons claims that biofuels expansion is increasing hunger and poverty-related health risks in developing nations. The four-page article was written by Indur Goklany, a long-time biofuels critic and contributor to the Cato Institute. Based on an ill-conceived and opaque method that misinterprets and misrepresents the findings of the World Bank and other researchers, the paper is nothing more than anti-farmer and anti-biofuel vitriol cloaked as real analysis. It simply can’t be taken seriously and it’s not at all surprising that the only publication that would ever consider publishing this piece would be the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.
Food prices around the globe are rising and as a result, many are quickly searching for a scapegoat. Far too many are still recycling half-truths and misconceptions about the role of rising corn prices in food price escalation and demand for corn created by America’s ethanol industry. In a new look at the distribution of each dollar spent on food in the U.S., the U.S. Department of Agriculture has found just 11.6 cents of each dollar spent makes its way back to the farm. In other words, the raw ingredients in retail food items account for just 12 cents of every consumer dollar spent, while energy costs, labor, transportation, packaging, and other supply chain costs account for the other 88 cents.
Research into the commodity price spikes in 2008 have all shown that speculation was a major driver in the creation of that bubble and in its popping. Now, not three years later, are we seeing history repeat itself? Recent behavior in the corn market says yes.