This morning, USDA released its first estimate of the 2012 corn crop--and it is a big one. According to today’s USDA projections, record U.S. corn production of 14.79 billion bushels is expected in 2012. This should put an end to the phony “food vs. fuel” campaign, but we know better—even the most stubborn facts haven’t stopped ethanol’s critics from continuing to pursue their respective political agendas in the past.
A new year ushers in a new era for ethanol in the U.S. New markets domestically and internationally are opening up just as new technologies for ethanol production begin commercial construction at new biorefineries around the country. What 2012 will ultimately hold for American ethanol production remains to be seen, but that shouldn’t stop us from positing some guesses.
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.
In the second part of RFA’s series on the improving efficiencies of corn ethanol production, the focus will be specifically on input use—both on the farm and at the biorefinery.
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.
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.
Whether it’s the surprising price spread between WTI and Brent crude prices, declining oil imports, lower gasoline prices at the pump, or the frayed nerves of a Saudi oil minister, U.S. ethanol is clearly having a meaningful impact on U.S. and global oil supplies, demand, and prices.
In a letter sent to Congress yesterday, leading advocates of the U.S. biofuels industry urged the members to reject attempts to reduce, waive or eliminate the requirements of the RFS. This policy is essential to securing the capital investments needed to bring new biofuels technologies to commercialization.
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.
This week, the chairman of Nestlé, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, attacked ethanol as an “immoral” policy. It is a charge backed by lots of emotion, but very little fact. Here I present the facts about ethanol, without emotion or misplaced sanctimony.
In an attempt to inject some sanity and facts into the recently rekindled “food versus fuel” fervor, RFA has repeatedly highlighted the fact that in 2010/11, the U.S. ethanol industry will use just 3 percent of the global grain supply on a net basis. It just isn’t reasonable to suggest that using such a small slice of the global grain supply could be solely responsible for the recent surge in food prices—especially when the U.S. industry uses nary a bushel of food grains like rice or wheat. Nevertheless, some opponents of biofuels have challenged the legitimacy of our 3 percent figure. But we have nothing to hide. It’s really a straightforward calculation, replicable by anyone with access to USDA data, a pencil and the back of an envelope.
In 2007, Congress and President Bush codified the Renewable Fuels Standard requiring 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels in our motor fuels by 2022. Now President Obama has laid down a gauntlet reminiscent of the 1960's moon race by calling for a near universal use of renewable power within twenty-five years. Whether America will achieve a clean, sustainable and independent energy future will depend on whether we as a nation can coalesce around this achievable goal.
As turmoil and violence rattle the Middle East and Northern Africa, the fragile American and worldwide economic recovery is being put into jeopardy as oil prices continue their climb over $100. Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress is voting on provisions that would limit use of the only widely available alternative to imported oil…Ethanol.
According to an economic analysis from Cardno ENTRIX economist John Urbanchuk, 70,600 Americans are employed directly in the production of ethanol and in industries providing goods and services to ethanol producers. As a result of the economic activity generated by ethanol production, more than 400,000 Americans have been able to keep their jobs or find new ones.
This morning at the 16th Annunal National Ethanol Conference, I will be giving the State of the Industry Address, dicussing the successes the ethanol industry has had and challenges that are in front of us.
Frequently discredited ethanol antagonist Tim Searchinger found a sympathetic ear at the Washington Post which published yet another diatribe against biofuels that is largely devoid of relevant facts. That isn’t surprising given that Mr. Searchinger’s theory of international land use change and the penalty he sought to impose on biofuels has been regularly revised and proven false. His most current attack is simply more of the same, even if somewhat toned down.