Friday, December 28, 2007

American Farm Bureau President Speaks Out on Food vs. Fuel

Bob Stallman Farm Bureau Food vs. FuelAmerican Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman has responded to critics of biofuels like ethanol with an informative essay on the AFBF site.

In it he takes head-on many of the "Food vs. Fuel" unsubstantiated myths being promoted by anti-ethanol critics and the news media.

Among the topics he covers is the news media myth that demand for ethanol here in the US has driven up the tortilla prices in Mexico:

"What these news outlets don’t understand is that tortilla flour is made from white corn, which is completely different and separate from the yellow corn that constitutes over 99 percent of U.S. corn production and is utilized to make ethanol. White corn prices are determined by the supply and demand conditions for white corn, mostly within Mexico."
He also takes on the worn-out logic that the amount of corn used for ethanol in one tank would feed a person for a year:

Opponents of ethanol try to capitalize on straw horse arguments. For example, someone recently suggested that filling a 25-gallon tank of a sport utility vehicle with pure ethanol would require more than 450 pounds of corn, enough calories to feed one poor person for a year. As we say in Texas, that’s nothing but pure hogwash! The fact is that this year the amount of ethanol used as a component of gasoline is less than 5 percent of the total. In reality, based on the opponents’ line of reasoning, it would take only about 20 pounds of corn to fill that sport utility vehicle with pure ethanol – a far cry from 450 pounds!

He concludes that the use of ethanol is good for economic security from high energy costs and that he's optimistic consumers will see through the hyperbole of the food vs. fuel debate.

This isn't the first time Farm Bureau has spoken out about the food vs. fuel myth. Earlier this year, they released a report, Corn Prices Have Small Impact on Higher Food Costs. Terry Francl, Farm Bureau Chief Economist, noted that food prices had little to do with corn demand for ethanol. Instead, weather and high energy costs are to blame:
"Nearly all the evidence points to factors other than ethanol demand, including an early freeze that zapped fruits and vegetables, low world supplies of wheat, milk producers’ cut ting back on production in response to last year’s low prices and the rising cost of energy."
Interestingly, the CattleNetwork site ran an interview that further explained the results, How the Price of Corn Affects Food and Feed.

Source: American Farm Bureau Federation
(AFBF's mission is to be the unified national voice of agriculture, working through our grassroots organization to enhance and strengthen the lives of rural Americans and to build strong, prosperous agricultural communities)

Subscribe to updates by Email

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Food and Fuel

Good and Balanced Food and Fuel News!

No comments: