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.
Kelly Davis recounts her trip to northeast Asia as part of a trade mission to discuss U.S. ethanol policy, import and export capabilities, trends in corn co-products, and other important issues.
Food prices rose just 1.8% in 2012, the second-lowest annual rate in the last 20 years. The new data demonstrates the absurdity of the alarmist rhetoric coming from Big Food.
Anxious that Americans won’t eat as many chicken wings at Super Bowl parties next weekend as they chowed down on last year, the National Chicken Council is serving up a heaping helping of half truths about the supposed impact of U.S. ethanol on poultry prices and supplies.
Less than a month ago, the famously anti-ethanol editorial writers at the Wall Street Journal howled that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was exacerbating drought-related "corn shortages" and "driv[ing] food prices up in a way that punishes consumers around the world…" And reaching deep into their dead-and-buried-biofuel-myth grab bag, they pulled out this emotional beauty: "…biofuel mandates increase hunger and hunger-related diseases at home and abroad…" Yet, yesterday, inconspicuously stashed on the WSJ "Real Time Economics" blog, is a short post by Neil Shah entitled "Hard to Pass Food-Price Spikes on to Consumers." In it, Mr. Shah breaks down data from the U.S. Departments of Labor and Agriculture and concludes the impact of the drought on food prices will be "manageable" and "far from crippling for the average consumer."
This summer, several governors have submitted letter to the EPA requesting a waiver of the RFS for 2012 and 2013. Analysis from the RFA shows that waiving the RFS requirements for 2013 would actually result in a net increase in annual household spending of approximately $24-$85 due to increased spending on gasoline. Thus, waiving the RFS in 2013 would do more harm to American consumers than if EPA allows the program to continue to function as designed.
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.
In a recent opinion piece, commodity broker Dave Juday attempts to argue that America’s push to use renewable fuels to weaken our dependence on foreign oil is a “fiasco.” As is often the case with the opinions of anti-ethanol critics, the argument lacks context and a complete recital of the facts. If 400,000 jobs and 445 million fewer barrels of imported oil each year are a fiasco, then America could use a few more just like it.
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.
In a letter sent to President Obama today, the Renewable Fuels Association urged the President to take pride in the U.S. ethanol industry, as they detailed the dynamic state of the industry. The letter was prompted by remarks the President made during his Twitter town hall event earlier this week, in which the President seemed to question the commitment of ethanol producers and advocates to innovation.
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.
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.