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.

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