The E-Xchange — Corn prices
One of the questions posed by the House Energy & Commerce Committee asked whether ethanol and the RFS have impacted corn prices. Our response? Yes, of course ethanol expansion has added value to corn prices—that was the point!
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.
“Don’t believe everything you read.” Never have truer words been spoken. Here is a fact check of the January 6th New York Times article “As Biofuel Demand Grows, So Do Guatemala’s Hunger Pangs” by Elisabeth Rosenthal.
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.
A July 30th op-ed, "Corn for Food, Not Fuel" in the New York Times deserves an Olympic gold medal for misinformation claiming ethanol is more expensive than gasoline and that waiving the RFS will significantly lower corn prices. Ethanol is continuing to help consumers and the pump.
In a Letter to the Editor of the Chicago Tribune in response to "Food and the Drought", I point out that yes, this years drought is undoubtedly painful, but we will not know the impact on corn supply until harvest. In the meantime, we must avoid speculation and allow the marketplace work.
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.”
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.
The spin machines at the public relations firms employed by the nation's factory farms, junk food processors, and animal slaughter facilities are in full tilt. Predictably as the corn price rises as it did a few summers ago, these groups are feverishly trying to pin higher price on U.S. ethanol producers. A new anlysis concludes that such efforts are not supported by the facts.
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.
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.