Friday, August 7, 2009

GAO Report Shows Food Prices Increased Higher than Farm Prices

GAO Government Accounting Office Higher Food Prices
A new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that supermarket prices for food have climbed by 128 percent since 1982 – four times the increase in crop prices for farmers.

The new GAO report found that since 1982, farmers have generally received higher monthly prices for their commodities, but these prices have increased less than food prices and inflation in the broader economy.

So exactly how does ethanol lead to higher food prices?

It doesn't.

As we've long said here, consumer food prices are largely driven by costs after the farm costs---labor, energy, transportations, marketing AND profits.

And a Senate committee found earlier this summer that recent higher commodity costs were driven by speculators. Again, not by ethanol policy or farmers.

But the Grocery Manufacturers Association continues to stir up hatred for the renewable fuel.

Big Food companies like Kraft Foods continue to record record high profits.

All thanks to their higher food prices and "let's blame the farmers" strategy.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Cash for Clunkers Raids Clean Energy Fund

Car Allowance Rebate System Cash for Clunkers
Look out, Congress is raiding the clean energy cookie jar!

"Cash for Clunkers" might sound good to many. It's helping to put new cars into driveways of Americans across the country. (Isn't that a lot like a "chicken in every pot?")

But it's disheartening to learn that Congress may fund additional billions for the program from monies meant for clean renewable energy development.

The House voted last week 316 to 109 to add an additional $2 Billion to extend the program and to take the money from the clean energy fund as part of the American Recovery and Investment Act.

There's a blog post from the House leadership to "return" the money.

But, who's going to really notice?

The senate may vote this week, and as soon as today, to pass similar legislation.

America needs to continue to make investments in renewable energy infrastructure.

Is raiding Peter to pay Paul really the best approach?

Never Miss a New Article--> Subscribe to updates by Email
Find What You Seek --> Search

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Gas Prices Surge and Peak Oil is Nearer Than Feared

crude oil barrelThe cost of America's addiction to oil is rising.

In 2008, America spent $453.3 billion on imported oil.

But the cost of that addiction continues to increase.

Oil prices surged this week to over $71 a barrel.

Higher oil prices appear to be the "new" norm, despite the slow US economic recovery.

As most motorists know, this has resulted in higher gas prices over the past month at the local stations.

In just the past week the average US Regular gasoline price rose to $2.56 a gallon, according to the US Dept of Energy. This was a jump of over 5 cents in just one week.

But what if the rate of oil output reaches its maximum and can only decline?

The stark reality of "Peak Oil" may be closer than ever before.

Dr. Fatih Birol, chief economist for the International Energy Agency, told reporters in Paris this week that:
"...the public and many governments appeared to be oblivious to the fact that the oil on which modern civilisation depends is running out far faster than previously predicted and that global production is likely to peak in about 10 years – at least a decade earlier than most governments had estimated."
Dr. Birol also noted that most existing fields have reached their peak capacity and the oil existing oil "alternative" is to use the much dirtier use oil derived from tar sands.

All of this means the US needs to move aggressively in promoting renewable fuels like ethanol. Ethanol is available Now. Flexible Fuel Vehicles work Now! And ethanol is made here in the United States!

Never Miss a New Article--> Subscribe to updates by Email
Find What You Seek --> Search

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Food and Fuel

Good and Balanced Food and Fuel News!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Begun This Burrito War Has

Chipotle Burrito WarEven Jedi master Yoda knows when to stay quiet.

Apparently, Chipotle hasn't had that Jedi PR lesson yet.

And so the Burrito War has begun.

Chipotle restaurants recently ran a promotion for the anti-ag film, Food Inc. It's a slanted film that ignores the reality of a growing and hungry world. We'll have a full review soon on our site.

Chipotle wanted to appear all green and sustainable so they sponsored free screenings of the movie around the country.

Yeah for the giant food chain who promotes reduced food and unsustainable food production for the USA and the world. Can't we all just have a few chickens and pigs in our backyward to feed ourselves? Or better yet, just only eat vegetable we can grow ourselves?

But there's at least one group who takes issue with the company's current purchasing practices.

The Coalition for Immokalee Workers (CIW) is a community-based organization of mainly Latino, Mayan Indian and Haitian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the state of Florida.

They're wondering why Chipotle is ignoring the plight of farm workers. In a recent letter to Chipotle's CEO, Steve Ellis, CIW wrote:
We view the CIW’s struggle for dignity as a non-negotiable part of the struggle for a sustainable food system. Therefore, we strongly urge you to enter into an agreement with this worker-led organization that has been fighting tirelessly to improve conditions in tomato country since 1993. As you know, the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange has acted to block the penny-per-pound raise agreed to by McDonald's, Yum Brands, Burger King and others, by threatening to fine any grower who cooperates with the buyers and the CIW. The extra penny paid out by these companies now sits in an escrow account, and workers in the fields continue making the same dismal wage. The growers clearly fear the power tomato pickers have galvanized through the efforts of the CIW and Chipotle's refusal to sign an agreement with the CIW only bolsters the growers’ intransigence.
And they've decided to crash Chipotle's PR Burrito party. Check out their online update HERE.

We guess the "Farce" is with Chipotle!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

USDA Projects Record Corn Crop

USDA corn cropThe recent USDA Supply Demand report shows good news for the US corn industry.

According to the report, the corn crop is expected to be the second largest on record:
U.S. feed grain supplies for 2009/10 are projected higher this month with higher expected beginning stocks and production for corn. Corn production for 2009/10 is projected at 12.3 billion bushels, up 355 million from last month as higher estimated area from the June 30 Acreage report boosts production prospects. Corn supplies are projected at 14.1 million bushels, up 335 million bushels from 2008/09. Feed and residual use for 2009/10 is raised 50 million bushels as increased supplies and lower prices are expected to boost feeding demand. Food, seed, and industrial use is lowered 35 million bushels reflecting lower expected use for sweeteners and starch. Exports are raised 50 million bushels as lower prices increase the competitiveness of U.S. supplies in the world market. Ending stocks are projected at 1.6 million bushels, up 460 million from last month, but down 220 million from 2008/09. The 2009/10 marketing-year average farm price for corn is projected at $3.35 to $4.15 per bushel, down 55 cents on both ends of the range.
We find it amazing that us farmers succeed despite the many challenges that arise. Higher land, fertilizer, credit prices, a slowing economy and challenging weather conditions hampered the start of the corn crop. But corn growers persevered.

Many critics of American corn production threw in the towel at the first drop of rain that US farmers were going to starve the world for the sake of ethanol.

The facts speak otherwise.

Source: USDA

Monday, July 20, 2009

Barrel Blast is a Blast

As the summer driving season kicks into high-gear, Americans will be burning oil---polluting, dirty foreign oil to be exact.

But if you're on a "staycation", log onto the new fun Barrel Blaster game provided by the American Coalition for Ethanol.

The game's simple to play: “Greentown is being overrun by marauding hordes of oil” - and it’s up to you to save the city by shooting down oil barrels when they come on-screen with your weapons - “ethanol zappers.”

You choose to play between various forms of transportation: a motor scooter, a VW bug, and a Hummer. Each has its own strengths.

So blast those barrels as you learn more about alternative fuels!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ethanol Flex Fuel Vehicles Go Postal

United States Postal Service FFV E85 ethanol vehicles
The U.S. Postal Service will add 1,000 E-85 ethanol-capable and 900 gasoline/electric hybrid vehicles to its delivery fleet, part of a vehicle purchase by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).

At nearly 220,000, the Postal Service operates and maintains the largest civilian fleet in the country. The 1,900 vehicles from GSA will bring the total number of alternate fuel-capable vehicles in the Postal Service fleet to more than 43,000.
“With our fleet traveling more than 1.2 billion miles a year, the Postal Service consistently looks for ways to reduce the environmental footprint that results from visiting every home and business in America six days a week,” said Sam Pulcrano, vice president, Sustainability. “The GSA fleet upgrade program will help us continue these strategies.”
The Postal Service has increased alternative fuel use by 41 percent since 2006, and plans to reduce petroleum use by 20 percent over the next five years. Replacing aging vehicles with more fuel-efficient and alternative fuel-capable vehicles is key to reaching that goal.
“This is a unique opportunity for the Postal Service to continue work on our goals for improved fuel economy, greenhouse gas reductions, and on our position as an environmental leader,” said Wayne Corey, manager, Vehicle Operations, who is overseeing the vehicle delivery.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Choose Ethanol Now

Choose Ethanol.comEthanol has long had a good story---clean burning, renewable energy, and made here in the USA.

But over the past few years, opponents have used misinformation, outdated information and relentless media pushes to confuse the debate.

So it's good to see that one of the ethanol industry giants---the Renewable Fuels Association, has a new website to help set the story straight.

The new site,, covers E85 ethanol fuel information, an ethanol news center and quick facts about the fuel and industry.

Site visitors can also sign up to stay informed about ethanol - a clean, renewable fuel made here the United States.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Al Franken Backs Ethanol

Minnesota Senator Al FrankenWith the disputed Minnesota senate seat finally decided, it's good to see that the incoming senator, Al Franken supports ethanol and renewable energy.

In this MN Post article, Franken shared his thoughts on the Climate Change bill and its strong ethanol components:
"What we're talking about here is the science of how ethanol affects our carbon footprint," Franken said. "The science to me tells me it helps. I've looked at this a lot, and it seems to me that ethanol already helps our carbon footprint and it's only getting more efficient in the way it's produced. Corn ethanol is a step on the way to cellulosic ethanol, which is also going to benefit Minnesota. I'm in the pro-ethanol camp."
The state of Minnesota has been a strong supporter of ethanol. This is not a new policy direction for Franken or for the state. On his campaign website, he states his support for renewable energy:
Today, I think we need a new “Apollo project” – this time to fundamentally change our energy policy and end our reliance on foreign oil.

The natural resources we have right here in Minnesota – not just corn and soybeans and biomass and wind, but innovation and creativity and brainpower – can lead to amazing breakthroughs if we commit to this undertaking.

This “Apollo project” should provide financial support for research into new forms of renewable energy and development of currently-identified sources to make them more efficient. Of course I’m talking about corn ethanol. But I’m also talking about cellulosic ethanol and other biofuels. I’m talking about solar power. And, especially here in Minnesota, I’m talking about wind power. We live in a windy state!
He goes on to write that through renewable energy, America can improve the environment, make the nation more secure and less dependent on foreign oil and also create high-tech, high-paying jobs in conservation and R&D.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Never Been on a Farm. And it Shows.

Last month we told you about EPA bureaucrat Margo Oge who testified before Congress that "It takes 64 acres for corn ethanol and over 400 acres for a gallon of biodiesel.”

She seemed like she's never stepped foot on a farm but was confidently testifying before congress on how much corn it takes to make ethanol.

As a leading EPA official, specifically the Director of Transportation and Air Quality, you'd think she'd know a bit more about what she's testifying about before congress.

Apparently not.

Maybe the urban legislators took her claims as facts. But ag legislators and farmers know better.

With a corn yield average of 151 bushels per acre, and each bushel weighing 56 pounds, her claim that it takes 64 acres to make one gallon of ethanol is just ridiculously uninformed. 541,184 pounds of corn to make just one gallon of ethanol?

The truth is that it takes less than three bushels per gallon and there's still value in the many co-products left from the ethanol production process.

Maybe she doesn't know where farms are located in America? Maybe she thinks food just magically shows up in her kitchen? Maybe she's never met a real farmer?

Senator Charles Grassley Iowa ethanol farm EPA
So to help her and her colleagues out, Senator Charles Grassley (IA) has announced that he's invited EPA bureaucrats to a real working farm to help them get a better understanding of American agriculture:
EPA has recently gone into four regulations that would be very detrimental to agriculture. And this one woman bureaucrat that -- and it's not because she's says woman -- it could be a man, too - never been on a farm. And can you imagine that? Doing all these things to harm agriculture and never been on a farm?

So we're bringing these people to Iowa in September the 3rd to -- to see a family farm and to visit an ethanol plant and to look to see what we're doing in agriculture.

Now, maybe we won't change their mind, but at least they won't be doing everything out of ignorance.
It should be a real eye-opener to these many desk-bound administrators on what it takes to feed and fuel America and the world.

Check out the video of her testimony. Her wild claims start at the 1 minute mark.

Never Miss a New Article--> Subscribe to updates by Email
Find What You Seek --> Search

Food and Fuel

Good and Balanced Food and Fuel News!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Record Corn Crop Planted

planted corn fieldNever underestimate the American farmer, despite the many obstacles they face.

From wet weather during planting season, higher input costs for seeds and fertilizer, rising land prices and a tight credit market, America's farmers faced a host of obstacles in getting their fields planted this spring.

But today's crop report from the USDA certainly proves the resiliance of American corn growers.

united States Department of Agriculture
Farmers planted 87 million corn acres in 2009, up 1 million acres from last year. This is the second-largest corn acreage in more than 60 years, behind 2007 and is up 1% from last year.

Despite wet weather in many growing areas, farmers reported that 97 percent of intended corn acreage was planted by early June, compared with the 10-year average of 98 percent.

And despite the naysayers who continue to argue against the capabilities of America's agriculture, America can grow both Food AND Fuel.

Source: USDA

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Senate Finds Cause for Higher Food Prices

Senator Carl Levin
Did your pizza and PB&J sandwich really cost more because of ethanol?


A US Senate subcommittee, the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations headed by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), has released a report finding that market speculation led to rising commodity prices last year.

Despite Big Food's attempt to blame rising food costs on corn ethanol, this new report confirms the cause for the rapid increase in the price of wheat. Followers of the food and fuel issue will recall that Big Food and the media falsely blamed rising wheat prices on corn ethanol. Campbell Soup's CEO was one of the food leaders who made this wild claim that was widely reported. (Read our rebuttal HERE)

The new report found that commodity traders bought up more than 200,000 wheat contracts by mid-2008 that fueled the record jump in prices which caused the rapid food prices for consumers.

The report found that large wheat purchases on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) drove up futures prices, disrupted the normal relationship between futures prices and cash prices for wheat, and caused farmers, grain elevators, grain processors, consumers, and others to experience significant unwarranted costs and price risks.
"It is another case of speculative money overwhelming a market, and federal regulators failing to take the steps needed to protect the market," said Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
Prices for most commodities soared to historic highs during the mid 2008. And the price of wheat soared to a high of $13.34 a bushel.
“The bottom line,” said Levin, “is that excessive speculation in commodity indexes has created losers throughout the wheat industry, from wheat farmers to grain elevators, grain merchants, grain processors, and grain users like bakeries and cereal companies. Those groups can’t manage their price risks through hedging, and are socked with unwarranted costs from higher margin calls and failed hedges. When those costs are passed onto consumers, the result is higher food prices.”
This report was issued earlier this week, and of course, has had little coverage by the media. But we didn't really expect to see much because it doesn't fuel the story they've already set in place.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Finding E85 Fuel Goes Mobile

mobile cell phone E85 ethanolFinding E85 fuel is easier with the new mobile fuel station finder from the Alternative Fuels & Advanced Vehicle Center.

Just visit from your mobile phone to search for E85 Ethanol and other alternative fuel stations.

The Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center provides a wide range of information and resources to enable the use of alternative fuels.

This site joins the existing Near 85 site, in providing locations to finding E85 ethanol fueling stations.

We also have a complete lists of site HERE for more resources on finding E85 stations.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

DOE Secretary Chu Supports E85 Flex Fuel Vehicles

US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu
US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu gave support for all new automobiles to be able to use E85 ethanol-blended fuel.

Chu gave his support for E85 Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFV) during a trip to Des Moines on Monday:
“I’ve been told it costs about $100 in gaskets and fuel lines to turn a car so that it can go all the way to E85,” said Chu. “But a new car , it would only cost $100 out of $15,000. Wouldn’t it be nice to put in those fuel lines and gaskets so that we can use any ratio we wanted. It’s just a thought, I don’t think you’re going to get any objections in this audience.”

Moving our nation's vehicle fleet to Flex Fuel Vehicles is really a no-brainer. And it's always been a chicken or egg issue. To move the country from being held hostage to foreign oil, we need a transportation fuel that performs, fueling stations across the country and vehicles that can run on the fuel. And ethanol is the model that works, now.

Secrerary Chu also commented positively on the pending waiver for E15 that the EPA has under consideration:
“I don’t want to prejudge what they’re going to find, but if the existing automobile fleet can handle 15 percent, I would say let’s make that a target and go to 15 percent.”
While Chu was in Des Moines, the secretary announced more than $16 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Iowa.

Speaking in a news conference with Governor Chet Culver:
“This funding will provide an important boost for state economies, help put Americans back to work, and move us toward energy independence,” said Secretary Chu. “It reflects our commitment to support innovative state and local strategies to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy while insisting that taxpayer dollars be spent responsibly.”

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Big Food's Big Dividends

Big Lies are paying off for the Big Food companies.

Last year Big Food companies like Kraft Foods launched an all-out attack against biofuels. Through the Grocery Manufactures Association, the food industry leaders hired well-placed DC lobbyists and public relations firms to spew falsely that corn for ethanol was the major factor in food price increases.

And the major media just ate it all up: It must be ethanol that causes higher food prices.

We of course know the truth---corn for ethanol represents just a small part of most consumer food costs. Energy, packaging, marketing, transportation, labor and profits represent the major price components for consumer foods.

And a recent Congressional Budget Office study confirmed that ethanol production played only a small role in food price increases:
CBO estimates that from April 2007 to April 2008, the rise in the price of corn resulting from expanded pro-duction of ethanol contributed between 0.5 and 0.8 per-centage points of the 5.1 percent increase in food pricesmeasured by the consumer price index (CPI). Over the same period, certain other factors—for example, higherenergy costs—had a greater effect on food prices than didthe use of ethanol as a motor fuel
So who's profiting from the prices increases? Apparently, the owners of the Big Food companies.

Del Monte just announced that its Board of Directors approved a 25% increase in the quarterly dividend. And net revenue jumped last quarter for Kraft Foods based on higher prices. And the end of the second quarter will surely find more companies reaping the rewards of their higher supermarket prices and smaller packaging schemes.

So does anyone else even notice this "gouge and grab" by the Big Food companies? Maybe. It was enlightening to see the following story come across this week from MarketWatch:
The fact that the extreme volatility last year in the commodities markets has simmered down is another big plus for the food producers. Corn and fuel prices, despite recent rebounds, are still well below year-ago levels. This helps bulk up the bottom line.

At the same time, the best-run food companies have been getting away with judicious price hikes, correctly calculating that consumers -- perhaps especially in a recession -- will fork out a few extra pennies for their favorite comfort items.
So in these tough economic times, the Big Food companies are hoping you don't notice a few cents here or there or an ounce shaved off a box or bottole of your favorite food.

But the gig is up. Blaming ethanol for your higher profits is no way to run a company.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Saudi Sheikh Warns that Using Ethanol is a Sin

Sheikh Mohamed Al-Najimi ethanol sin
A prominent Saudi scholar has issued a warning to youths studying abroad against using ethanol in their cars since they could be committing a sin.

According to this report in Al Arabiya, using ethanol is a sin because it contains alcohol:
Sheikh Mohamed Al-Najimi, member of the Saudi Islamic Jurisprudence Academy, based his statement on a saying by the prophet that prohibited all kinds of dealings with alcohol including buying, selling, carrying, serving, drinking, and manufacturing, the Saudi newspaper Shams reported Thursday.
The article notes that this is not an official fatwa and just a personal opinion that should be studied more.

Maybe it's just a coincidence that Saudi Arabia is the world's major oil producing country and holds a vast reserve of oil.

So we'll just offer our own positions regarding biofuels.

It's a sin that American consumers are sending their money to repressive regimes around the world because we're held hostage by foreign oil.

It's a sin that Americans die in foreign conflicts to protect these foreign oil reserves.

It's a sin that Americans continue to be forced to use dirty fossil fuels rather than cleaner burning renewable fuels like ethanol.

It's a sin that Americans aren't fully employed working on building a vibrant renewable fuel industry for a stronger America.

Source: Al Arabiya

Never Miss a New Article--> Subscribe to updates by Email
Find What You Seek --> Search

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Food and Fuel

Good and Balanced Food and Fuel News!

Waste Material to Power Ethanol Plant

Critics of renewable American biofuels like ethanol know that killing off corn ethanol now with junk science and wild theories would end the drive for any future cellulosic ethanol---fuels made from a variety of plants and waste materials.

Without the infrastructure and investments in today's ethanol, there can never be tomorrow's ethanol.

So it's good to see the industry moving forward with technology that continues to drive lower the costs and inputs for ethanol production. Ethanol is good today and it will be even better tomorrow.

POET ethanol corn cobs
POET, a leader in the ethanol industry, announced today that a self-sustaining energy cycle for producing cellulosic ethanol is close to reality with the recent startup of an anaerobic digester at POET’s pilot plant in Scotland, South Dakota.

corn cob harvest ethanol
Corn cobs at Project LIBERTY will not only be used to produce ethanol; the liquid waste will go to an anaerobic digester to power the cellulosic plant and offset natural gas usage at the attached grain ethanol plant as well. That’s renewable energy created at the plant, powering the plant and powering the adjacent facility.

POET installed and fired up its anaerobic digester, which was designed and built by Biothane, on May 20. The digester uses liquid waste created in the process of converting corn cobs to ethanol. That waste is used to produce methane gas, which acts as roughly the equivalent of natural gas.

"This technology will cut fossil fuels out of our cellulosic ethanol production process and further improve the benefits of grain-based ethanol," POET CEO Jeff Broin said. "Over the long term, POET would like to eliminate the use of fossil fuels at all of our plants through a variety of alternative energy sources." The alternative energy technologies employed at other POET facilities include a solid waste fuel boiler, landfill gas and cogeneration.
The digester is in the research phase - corn cobs have never been used in this way before. The methane is currently being flared, but once the process is refined, it will be installed as part of Project LIBERTY.

Project LIBERTY is a 25 million gallon-per-year cellulosic ethanol plant, which will be built in Emmetsburg, Iowa. Research and development work is on schedule for the plant to begin production in 2011.

Source: POET