Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Food vs Fuel: A Global Myth

Chicago Tribune Robert Zubrin Gal Luft Corn Ethanol Food Fuel Global MythRobert Zubrin and Gal Luft have an opinion piece in the Chicago Tribune that outlines the reasons why the food versus fuel debate is a global myth. Worth reading and sharing with biofuel friends and foes alike.
"Here are the facts. In the last five years, despite the nearly threefold growth of the corn ethanol industry (or actually because of it), the U.S. corn crop grew by 35 percent, the production of distillers grain (a high-value animal feed made from the protein saved from the corn used for ethanol) quadrupled and the net corn food and feed product of the U.S. increased 26 percent.

Contrary to claims that farmers have cut other crops to grow more corn, U.S. soybean plantings this year are expected to be up 18 percent and wheat plantings up 6 percent. U.S. farm exports are up 23 percent.

America is clearly doing its share in feeding the world.

Agriculture is not a zero-sum game. There are 800 million acres of farmland in the U.S., and only about 30 percent of it is actually being used to grow anything. As a result of the ethanol program, the corn price received by farmers doubled over the last five years, causing a huge increase in the amount grown in terms of acreage and yield.

The increased demand for food from the hundreds of millions of people in China and India rising out of poverty and moving to a more calorie-rich diet affects the price of food the most. Second is the price of fuel.

Higher fuel prices increase the cost of production, transport, wages and packaging, the main cost of retail food."
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