Saturday, May 31, 2008

Campbell Soup is Hmm Hmm Wrong!

Campbell Soup Andy Warhol Food before Fuel corn wheatCampbell Soup's CEO Doug Conant spoke with the Wall Street Journal and shared his management secrets for "leading a transformation" in an article that appeared this week.

5 Tips From Douglas Conant on Leading a Transformation
  • Bring an "all things are possible" attitude to the work.
  • Confront the brutal facts and be clear-eyed about the situation.
  • Set high standards and make expectations clear, as the ability to mobilize people is the key to success.
  • Give the organization time to do things right.
  • Do what you say you will; this is about performance, not intentions.

We suggest that he adds "tell the truth" to his list.

In the article, Conant claims that the recently-enacted Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) is to blame for higher wheat prices because less wheat is grown in favor of corn:

WSJ: Does Campbell have a position on the food-for-fuel issue and the government mandate on how much corn should be used to make ethanol?

Mr. Conant: The world has changed since the ethanol incentives were put in place and what we're saying is, it has to be re-examined because it had unintended consequences. The people that enacted it didn't realize the impact it was going to have -- that by planting more corn you'd be planting less wheat and that the price of that wheat was going to go up so much because the demand for wheat globally is so high.

Campbell Soup, a leader in the Grocery Manufacturers Association, failed to mention that according to the USDA wheat acres were up in 2007 and also are projected to be up again this year. These facts can easily be checked on the USDA website.

Wheat All


Planted All Purposes




Price per Unit

Value of production

2007 60,433 1 51,011 1 40.5 2 2,066,722 3

2006 57,344 1 46,810 1 38.7 2 1,812,036 3 4.25 4 7,721,028 5

1 - thousand acres 2 - bushel 3 - thousand bushels 4 - dols / bu 5 - thousand dollars

The GMA claims to have "the facts on their side" in their smear campaign against ethanol. But GMA and Campbell Soup apparently don't need the "facts". They just make them up. And the WSJ just mindlessly prints the mis-truths.

Campbell Soup...Hmm Hmm Wrong!

Source: WSJ, USDA

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Texas Senator Blames Corn Ethanol

Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison corn ethanol RFS oilTexas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison wants you to know who to blame for higher food prices: the American farmer.

Announcing Senate bill S. 3031, the senator and other anti-ethanol lobbyists blame all food cost increases on the price of corn:
“The ethanol mandate is clearly causing unintended consequences on food prices for American consumers,” said Sen. Hutchison. “Freezing the mandate is in the best interests of consumers, who cannot afford the increasing prices at the grocery store due to the mandate diverting corn from food to fuel.”
Really? Perhaps she hasn't read the report from Texas A&M which looked at this very issue:
"Relaxing the RFS does not result in significantly lower corn prices."
Because if she did, she might also learn that higher energy costs are the true culprit:
"The underlying force driving changes in the agricultural industry, along with the economy as a whole, is overall higher energy costs, evidenced by $100 per barrel oil."
Since the report was written just a month ago, oil prices have risen another $35 a barrel. And they are expected to increase even more.

These misguided efforts to decrease the fuel supply, increase our dependence on foreign oil and shift blame to American agriculture are unproductive. America needs to look at all efforts to get off oil.

The oil industry knows that crippling corn ethanol now will stop biofuel development. So expect to hear even more rhetoric from them and their supporters in the coming weeks.

Source: Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, THOMAS

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Dastardly Treason?

dastardly treason food before fuel campaignThe firestorm set off by the disclosure of a well-funded campaign to smear ethanol isn't going over well with many in the nation's heartland.

The extent to which the Big Food industry is going to discredit American farmers, the biofuels industry and the rest of the agriculture is really quite staggering.

But even we chuckled a bit when we saw this press release come by our desks.

Extra double points for using "Dastardly" and "Treasonous" in the same press release!

An Editorial Comment by
Larry Matlack, President
American Agriculture Movement

May 27, 2008

It recently became public that there has been an orchestrated public relations smear campaign by Grocery Manufacturing Association (GMA), working in tandem with a highly-paid “K Street” lobbying firm, to discredit ethanol as a viable alternative renewable fuel. The smear campaign attempted to blame it for high food prices and causing people to go hungry. To put the issue in context, we must first remember that our renewable fuels programs have been initiated to help reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil.

I also have serious questions as to whether this smear campaign was also a diversionary tactic to misdirect the attention onto farmers and renewable fuels and away from the fact that many food processors are making and reporting record profits. Several members of GMA have reported increased profits of well over 50 percent in the past quarter when compared to previous quarters and/or the same quarter a year ago. Some of those reported increases in corporate profits exceed 80 percent at a time America’s working families are struggling with rapid and debilitating inflationary surges in energy, food and related living expenses.

It is nothing new for one business group to spread misinformation about another in order to increase their profits. It is also nothing new for one group to try to influence congressional legislation or governmental regulations in order to profit from that influence. What is very different in this case is the possible consequences of these most recent acts by some state leaders, members of congress and business members of the GMA.

For every dollar spent on this smear campaign of misinformation our nation slips further from domestically produced renewable fuels and back to our over reliance on imported oil. This dastardly campaign not only lines the pockets of the food processing executives, it actually sends more money to countries that do not share America’s values. Some of that money goes to the countries the 9/11 hijackers came from. Some of that money goes to countries from which support is provided for insurgents and terrorists fighting and killing American solders in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Referring to our dependence and continued purchase of oil from countries hostile to America, R. James Woolsey, former National Security Advisor, has stated “we are funding our enemy.”

Article III Section 3 of the United States Constitution lists three treasonous acts, of which one is providing aid and comfort to the enemy. I believe providing money is “aid and comfort”. I believe Benedict Arnold caused fewer American solders to die than will those attacking renewable, domestic fuels. I would welcome an explanation from any of the Presidential Candidates or any credible news media personality why this is not a treasonous act. The real Patriots I know prefer to advance and promote Midwestern ethanol and biodiesel, not Middle Eastern oil!
Source: AAM

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ethanol is Not Major Factor in Food Cost Increases

University of Nebraska Food FuelWhile food prices in the U.S. rose in 2007 and early 2008, another new study shows that ethanol is not the major cause.

Richard K. Perrin, the Jim Roberts Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Nebraska, recently studied the effects of food prices caused by demand for corn for ethanol.
"The popular press has tended to attribute these food price increases to demand for corn by the ethanol industry. Grain prices are one determinant of food prices, but they constitute less than 5% of food costs in the U.S. (a higher percentage elsewhere.)"
The study finds that ethanol is responsible for no more than 30-40% of the grain price increases of the last 18 months.

Food prices in the US increased about 16% over the last five years,7% over the past 18 months, but rising grain prices have contributed only about a 3% cost increase over these periods.

It is reasonable to conclude that ethanol is responsible for increases in US food prices about 1% in the last two years – a relatively small proportion of actual of U.S. food price increases.

Despite the propaganda generated by biofuels critics, the facts back up that ethanol is not the culprit.

Source: Ethanol and Food Prices, Richard K. Perrin, University of Nebraska

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

As Gas Prices Soar, Americans Driving Less

high gas pricesHigh gas prices are changing driving habits.

American drove less miles in March 2008 according to estimates released from the Federal Highway Administration.

The FHWA’s “Traffic Volume Trends” report, produced monthly since 1942, shows that estimated vehicle miles traveled (VMT) on all U.S. public roads for March 2008 fell 4.3 percent as compared with March 2007 travel.

This is the first time estimated March travel on public roads fell since 1979. At 11 billion miles less in March 2008 than in the previous March, this is the sharpest yearly drop for any month in FHWA history.

Though February 2008 showed a modest 1 billion mile increase over February 2007, cumulative VMT has fallen by 17.3 billion miles since November 2006. Total VMT in the United States for 2006, the most recent year for which such data are available, topped 3 trillion miles.

Fueling this change was the average price of gasoline which jumped nearly 15 cents this week to $3.937 per gallon. This is up nearly 73 cents a gallon from a year ago at this same time.

Diesel prices also climbed higher, rising nearly 23 cents to $4.723 a gallon. This is up $1.906 a gallon from a year ago at this same time.

Despite driving less miles, many expect prices to remain high as crude oil prices continue to climb higher.

Source: US Department of Transportation, US Department of Energy

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Buying American Buys Freedom

Buy American flagMany Americans, shocked by the ever increasing price of foreign oil and the high level of foreign imports to the country, have begun to seek out and buy only American-made products.

Some call this "pocketbook patriotism". Others think it's just a good idea to keep jobs here at home and help the local and national economies. Many are still concerned with tainted imported food products, medicines and toys that have entered the country in recent years. While others don't seem to care at all.

But the reality is that foreign oil fueled a $711.6 billion trade deficit in 2007 according to the Commerce Department.

It's not easy buying Red, White and Blue. So if you want to buy American, where do you start?

One new website provides consumers with the information they need when looking to buy US-made products:
Still Made in the USA
As the price of foreign oil continues to climb to record levels, American wealth is transferring to oil-producing countries around the world. Our national security is at risk with every dollar that leaves our shores to hostile countries. And most developing nations are seeing their food money leave the country to pay the higher price for oil.

American-made biofuels offer motorists an American-made choice for their fuel too. Check out our lists of where you can buy biofuels in the US.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Tell Big Food to Stop Blaming Ethanol

national corn growers association NCGA food before fuel foodb4fuelAs first reported by RollCall, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has funded a major campaign against corn ethanol and U.S. farmers.

Blaming food cost increases solely on ethanol, GMA has aligned itself with other anti-farmer and ethanol-foes such as the the Earth Policy Institute and the Environmental Working Group to beat back the efforts of American farmers to produce both food AND fuel.

All the while, they are raising prices and discounting the tremendous impact rising energy costs, worldwide supply and demand and weather have played in food cost increases. Their smear campaign makes it clear that they will only blame ethanol:
"Corn-based ethanol is directly responsible for major increases in the costs of not just corn products, but virtually all major food staples." - Glover Park Group, Campaign Report to GMA, March 6, 2008 (PDF, Page 5 of 21).
Senator Chuck Grassley last week called upon Iowans who work for GMA companies to voice their opinions against the campaign launched by their employers.

Now the National Corn Growers Association is asking its members and supporters to call or e-mail these leading companies of the GMA and make their voices heard too.

Kraft Foods (847) 646-2000

General Mills (800) 248-7310

Lakeside Foods (920) 684-3356

NCGA also has a sample e-mail letter that can be sent online available HERE. More information regarding the GMA campaign is available HERE

Source: National Corn Growers Association

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Beer Fuels Democrats

POTUS08 Democratic National Convention 2008 DenverDemocrats will drive with ethanol fuel made from beer at their national convention in Denver this summer.

The Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee announced last week that Molson Coors Brewing Company will be the Official E85 Ethanol Producer for the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Molson Coors is donating all the clean-burning ethanol fuel for the fleet of General Motors flex-fuel vehicles to be used for Convention transportation needs.
"From fueling a national conversation about sustainability to fueling convention vehicles, we're working toward a green convention on every front," said Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. "We are grateful for Molson Coors' donation of cleaner-burning fuel to ensure we host the greenest national political convention to date."
Coors is the nation's first major brewer to convert its waste beer into ethanol. The company began recycling waste beer - beer lost during packaging or deemed below quality standards - and converting it to ethanol in 1996. Today the Golden ethanol facility produces about three million gallons of ethanol per year.

Source: Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee

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***Food and Fuel Quiz, 5-25-08***

food vs fuel debateFood and Fuel in The News
Weekly Trivia Quiz, May 25, 2008

How good are you at Food and Fuel trivia for the week? Try our new weekly trivia quiz. Answers and scoring below the questions. Post your scores in the comments. Good luck!

1. Name at least 3 ways you can drive your vehicle more efficiently to save gas.

2. USDA Secretary Ed Schafer spoke about efforts to repeal the RFS. Did he say a change in the renewable fuel standard, WOULD or WOULD NOT affect food prices?

Senator Grassley is urging employees of the Grocery Manufacturers Association to do what?

4. Was the average price of gasoline HIGHER or LOWER than $3.78 a gallon this week?

5. The average price of gasoline is up 57 cents a gallon from last year. About how many Subway footlong sandwiches would that buy for someone who buys 20 gallons of gas a week during a year?

6. During grilling by Congress, Oil executives were unable to explain what according to Sen. Patrick Leahy? a) why gas prices are so high b) they justify special tax breals and subsidies c) "a disconnect" between normal supply and demand and skyrocketing prices.

7. The Dairy Farmers of America co-op faces federal investigation for what two things?

8. Raising consumer prices was good for Hormel. How much did their profits rise this past quarter?

9. Oprah has a new diet. Again. Name three things she is going to give up for 21 days.

The Kansas City Star blames ethanol for raising popcorn prices by 25 cents and ticket prices by $1.00. If field corn was popcorn at $5.00 a bushel, would the total price of a pound of corn be more or less than the 25 cent increase?

BONUS QUESTION: (also worth 10 points)

B1. According to the beef checkoff, how many pounds of corn is required for 1 pound of beef?


Earn 10 points for each correct answer.

100 points : Food and Fuel Champ
80-90 points : Great! Keep it up.
60-70 points : Good, but you can do better.
10 - 50 points : Need to visit the site more often
0 points : Are you working for Big Oil?


1. Stay within posted speed limits. Stop aggressive driving. Avoid unnecessary idling. Combine errands. Use overdrive gears and cruise control when appropriate. Remove excess weight from the trunk. Avoid packing items on top of your car.
2. Would Not
3. To protest the Grocery Manufacturers Associations' target and tactics against ethanol.
4. Higher, $3.791 a gallon
5. 120 (.57 x 20 x 52)
6. c) "a disconnect" between normal supply and demand and skyrocketing prices
7. Alledged price fixing and a money transfer.
8. 14%
9. Caffeine, Sugar, Alcohol, Gluten, Animal products
10. Less. Far less. Field corn contains 56 pounds per bushel. At $5.00 a bushell, a pound of corn would cost less than 9 cents. A theatre tub of popcorn would certainly use less than even one pound of kernels. And field corn is not popcorn.

B1. 2.6 pounds of corn. At $5.00 per bushell, that's about 23 cents per pound ($5. / 56 x 2.6)

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Popcorn Propaganda

movie popcorn ethanolThe Kansas City Star would like you all to know that you can blame higher priced movie outings on ethanol. After all, it's the reason why everything is more expensive.

They've carefully researched the issue and checked their facts. They've looked at all factors influencing food costs like increased energy, worldwide demand and supply, marketing and labor costs. They've interviewed industry experts on all sides and prepared an accurate, well-balanced news article on the subject.

Or not.

In this fine piece of journalism, they report that movie popcorn prices will jump 25 cents at AMC theaters and that movie prices may leap 30% because of the price of "corn".
"The rocketing price for corn already is hurting Americans at the grocery store and the gas pump. Now it’s going to hurt us at the multiplex, too.

Partly because of the rising price for popcorn, on Thursday Kansas City-based AMC Entertainment Inc. announced that beginning today it will increase its ticket prices from $9 to $10 for weekend show times after 4 p.m. at its five area theaters. (Children ages 2 to 12 will be admitted for the usual $5.)

Also beginning today, AMC’s popcorn price will jump 25 cents nationwide."
So corn prices are responsible for $1.25 increase per person? And if it is just a part, how much "a part"? And if other factors play a larger role in the increases, will they get reported as well?

And exactly what does "field corn" have to do with popcorn again? Well according to the newspaper, apparently everything because they are one in the same. (hint: they're not). But even if they were the same, a bushel of corn at $5 a bushel contains 56 pounds. Now that's a lot of corn. This means that every $6 movie popcorn tub contains just pennies of actual corn costs.

Also in an earlier version of the story, they really showed their ag knowledge by reporting that corn was sold in "barrels" rather than the correct term, "bushels".

That's some fine reporting there Lou.

According to the paper, the only reason why corn prices are higher is because of that pesky renewable fuel.

We're still wondering how corn prices are hurting Americans at the gas pump when multiple studies show that ethanol is increasing fuel supplies and keeping gasoline prices lower.

It's pretty clear that the Kansas City Star has an editorial bias against ethanol and will allow shoddy reporting and slanted opinions to affect their newsroom operations.

But the story went out on the newswire and will be read by millions around the country (corn sold by the barrels and all). Their slanted "news" will be quoted as "fact". We're sure the oil and big food industries must be proud that their hard work is finally paying off.

Advertising Age also recently ran a popcorn story with this little nugget regarding popcorn costs:

“… the price of the paper pulp to produce popcorn tubs has jumped 40% in the past 36 months, making the tub more expensive than the corn inside it.”

After eating some theater popcorn, the box might just be the tastier part!

Source: Kansas City Star

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Oprah Goes Vegan

Oprah WinfreyOprah is going vegan. At least as part of her 21-day cleansing for "healthy wellness". Oprah announced her latest fad on a show earlier this week.

As part of her new regime, she's giving up everything that contains:
  • Caffeine
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Gluten
  • Animal products
All of these nasty things are unhealthy according to her new diet guru, Kathy Freston, a personal growth and spiritual counselor.
So what's left to eat? "Everything that is so healthy," Kathy says. "I say if you can give up a few things for the period of the cleanse, your body will learn to regenerate and produce the brain chemicals it needs, lose the taste addictions it has."
Oprah's also started a blog to tell the world about her new ability to thrive on lentil soup, lettuce leaves and cucumbers.

Going vegan must not be totally good for business. She still hawks recipes for carnivore diets in her magazine. And the last time she tangled with the meat industry, she declared she had "No Beef with Beef" (CNN).

Source: Oprah

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Food and Ethanol: We Need Both

Senator Richard Lugar Ethanol food fuel debateAs anti-ag groups mobilize to distort the public discussion of renewable energy policy, expect to see the noise level increase on both sides of the debate in the coming weeks.

Senator Richard Lugar (IN) released the following letter regarding the current debate on food and fuel on Thursday.

Food and ethanol: we need both

By Richard G. Lugar

As Hoosiers, we can appreciate the devastating impact of the current global food crisis. The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that people in nearly 40 countries are facing food shortages and social unrest because of soaring food costs and decreased availability of staples like rice, wheat, corn and soybeans.

Many of the recent advances made in alleviating global poverty could be wiped out by the double blow of high food and high energy costs.

Our farmers know that the current situation was produced by a complex web of factors, including increased demand for food from growing and wealthier populations in emerging economies, soaring energy prices, droughts in key food exporting countries, panic buying, cutoffs in grain exports by major suppliers, market-distorting subsidies, a tumbling U.S. dollar, and aggressive commodities speculation.

Yet critics have singled out one of America’s major efforts to improve energy security, using corn from Indiana and elsewhere in the Midwest to make ethanol, as the primary culprit in the food crisis. They have demanded Congress scale back, or even halt, corn ethanol production. They say, in effect, it is wrong to put food in our gas tanks, and that we must choose between feeding the hungry or producing biofuels.

This is a false choice. The rise in corn is a minor factor in the overall food price spike, and the costs of other grains that play no role in fuel production have also soared.

The facts are these: U.S. corn prices rose by 37 percent in the past year through March, year, wheat prices by 123 percent, and rice by 36 percent. Of the total 43 percent rise in global food costs, the corn price rise accounts for only 1.2 percentage points, according to Edward Lazear, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. In the U.S., food prices rose 4.5 percent—without ethanol, Dr. Lazear told a recent press briefing, they would have risen 4.25 percent.

In exchange for a minimal bump in food prices, the U.S. has made valuable first steps with corn toward establishing an ethanol infrastructure that can offer an alternative to gasoline. An energy policy to end the over-reliance on oil imports is not optional, it is a national security imperative. Cutting ethanol production now would strangle in the cradle our nascent energy security efforts, leaving us even more vulnerable to high oil prices that are hurting the economy and to the political whims of governments that control 80 percent of world oil reserves.

America launched the biofuels program because of the economic, foreign policy, and environmental dangers from foreign supplies, which meet 60 percent of our transportation needs and cost Americans $319 billion last year. The consequent enrichment of foreign governments hinders our efforts to end the genocide in Darfur, stop Iran’s nuclear program, combat terrorism or bring peace to the Middle East.

Corn ethanol has started us down a different energy path by offering motorists an alternative fuel. Where it is available, E-85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, lately has cost a dollar a gallon less than gasoline, enough to offset ethanol’s lower energy content.

Today’s food and energy crises highlight the need to push our biofuels effort to the next stage. Government policies should encourage alternatives without unneeded subsidies. We need to have virtually every new car in America capable of running on high ethanol blends, and to expand the ethanol distribution system beyond Indiana and the Midwest.

Corn is the foundation we need to hasten the commercialization of cellulosic technology, which promises abundant, cheap ethanol from non-food sources like switchgrass or forest wastes.

Add in the climate impact of our oil addiction, and it is clear this is no time to abandon corn. Instead we should address the root causes of the food crisis—under-investment in agricultural productivity, Europe’s opposition to genetically modified crops, the protectionist world agricultural trade system, and harmful farm subsidies by Europe and the United States.

We need energy security. We need food security. We can have both.

Source: Senator Richard Lugar

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hormel's Profits are High on the Hog

Hormel Foods profits food before fuel corn ethanol foodb4fuelHormel is living High on the Hog as they raise consumer food prices.

What's sad is Big Food continues to blame American farmers for higher food prices.

Hormel Foods is a member of the Grocery Manufacturers Association which recently launched an aggressive campaign against ethanol blaming it for increases in food prices.

Despite numerous studies that show that rising energy costs are to blame for higher food costs, Big Food continues to raise prices, increase profits and blame farmers.

Hormel Foods said second-quarter profits rose 14 percent is figures released today by the company. The company said its second-quarter profit rose to $77.6 million, or 56 cents per share, up from $68 million, or 49 cents per share, a year earlier. Sales rose almost 6 percent to $1.59 billion, from $1.5 billion a year earlier.

Hormel predicts its 2008 profit forecast will remain between $2.30 and $2.40 per share.

Source: Hormel


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Dairy Co-Op Under Fire

milk price price fixing food before fuelThose "Happy Cows" might be so happy after meeting Mr. Federal Agent.

In this widely reported story, CNN and the Wall Street Journal report that a national dairy co-op, Dairy Farmers of America, faces investigation by federal commodity regulators for an alleged price-fixing scheme.

According to the WSJ, investigators are looking at whether the co-op suppressed prices paid to farmers while raising the price charged to retailers.

Federal investigators are also looking at a reported transfer of $1 million transfer to a former co-op director.

Milk, it makes bank accounts good!

Source: CNN

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Congress Investigates Skyrocketing Gas Prices

food before fuel high oil pricesA US Senate committee heard testimony from oil company executives who tried to shift anger over high gasoline prices to a debate over supply and demand Wednesday.

The senators saw through their tactics and did not let them off the hook easily.

The oil executives appeared under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee. They said the cause of high gasoline prices was not the soaring oil company profits but rather global supply and demand.

Patrick Leahy (VT) told the executives that they had not explained "a disconnect" between normal supply and demand and the skyrocketing price of oil.

Sen. Arlen Specter (PA) said Exxon's annual profits increased from $11.5 billion to $40.6 billion in the past five years and there was no explanation for "why profits have gone up so high when the consumer is suffering so much."

The House will hold similar hearings on Thursday.

Source: Senate Judiciary Committee

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Soaring Gasoline Prices Approach $4.00 a Gallon

high gasoline prices May 2008The average price of gasoline soared to a record $3.791 a gallon this week in the Department of Energy's weekly retail price report. The average retail price was up nearly 7 cents a gallon from last week and 57 cents a gallon from a year at this time.

Just in time for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, prices are quickly approaching the $4.00 per gallon mark. The price of crude oil also reached record prices this week of $128 per barrel. And the prediction of $150 a barrel seems more likely every day.

Diesel prices rose nearly 17 cents a gallon to $4.497 a gallon, an amazing $1.694 more per gallon than a year ago.

oil cost danger high prices severe rick economyThe pain at the pump can clearly be felt across America. More money spent on gas means less money for other basic necessities like food, housing and health expenses. That 57 cent increase means about $600 more per year in increased fuel costs (.57 *20 gals *52 weeks). That's 120 $5.00 Subway Foot long sandwiches! And higher energy costs are passed along to consumers in other products as well as energy costs ripple through the economy.

Source: Department of Energy

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Iowans Urged to Voice Opinions On Smear Campaign Against Ethanol

Iowa Senator Charles Grassley Food and Fuel EthanolSenator Charles Grassley (IA) encouraged Iowans who work for major food manufacturers to make their voices heard in opposition to a national smear campaign against ethanol.
“A national association employing high-priced Washington, DC spin doctors has launched a misleading and disingenuous assault on ethanol,” Grassley said. “The facts are that biofuels are a very small factor in rising grocery costs and just 19 cents of every food dollar spent by consumers goes to farmers. I’m calling on companies who are members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association to protest the trade association’s target and tactics. Every employee of these member companies can join in. We’ve got to speak truth to power and fight back against this smear campaign.”
As an example of making his own opinion known, Grassley sent the following letter to companies who are listed as members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association and have operations in Iowa. Recipients of Grassley’s letter include Archer Daniels Midland, Barilla America, Cargill, ConAgra Foods, Dean Foods Company, General Mills, Hormel Foods, Kraft Foods, Land O’Lakes, Pinnacle Foods Corp, Procter & Gamble, Ralston Foods and Sara Lee Corp.

May 19, 2008

Dear __________________,

For nearly thirty years, our nation has pursued policies to promote the development and use of domestic, renewable fuels. We've promoted renewable biofuels as a way to lesson our dependence on foreign oil and to improve air quality. During this time, the biofuels movement enjoyed overwhelming support. Now, an anti-ethanol smear campaign led by the Grocery Manufacturers Association is blaming U.S. biofuels policies for the rising cost of food and global food shortages.

As a company with significant operations and employees in Iowa, surely you are well aware of the cooperative effort among all partners in the food supply chain to produce a safe, abundant food supply. Iowa's farmers and agricultural industries have long filled the breadbasket that feeds our nation and the world. This has always been a strong cooperative effort between family farmers, livestock growers, food processors, manufacturers and marketers.

As a family farmer and a long-time partner in the production of our nation's food supply, I am personally disappointed and offended by the public relations smear campaign that the food processors and member companies of the Grocery Manufacturers Association are now spearheading. I hope you'll recognize that this smear campaign against biofuels is unfounded, irresponsible and pits traditional allies and partners in food production against one another.

The propaganda being used by the Grocery Manufacturers Association and its high-paid lobbying firms in Washington, D.C., is patently false and should be disavowed. Administration officials with the Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the President's Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers have all determined that the production of biofuels has had only a small impact on the rise in retail food prices domestically and globally. The facts prove that the rising cost of energy, worldwide economic growth, global weather problems, rising marketing costs, and the weak U.S. dollar all have a far greater impact on rising food prices than biofuels.

All Iowans, my constituents and your employees, deserve an honest, fair discussion of the issues surrounding the rising cost of food. This smear campaign led by an organization of which you are listed as a member is harmful to an honest discussion and should be abandoned. I therefore strongly encourage you to call on the leadership of the Grocery Manufacturers Association to end this misleading campaign that is undermining and denigrating the patriotic achievements of American farmers to reduce our dependence on foreign oil while also providing a safe, abundant and reliable food supply.

Thank you for your timely consideration of this request and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Charles E. Grassley
United States Senator

Source: Senator Charles Grassley

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