NCGA Seeks Cooperative Effort

The industry needs to pull together and police media and Internet sources for inaccurate information on corn and ethanol, says the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA).

In this article from NCGA, CEO Rick Tolman expresses corn growers’ concerns and convictions.

When EPA turned down a request for a one-year cut in the renewable fuels standard on Aug. 7, we hoped it would silence the outspoken few who spread inaccurate and incomplete information on the issue. Unfortunately, within moments, they were out there talking their talk.

We believe farmers and food producers should be working together, not driving stakes in each other’s hearts. We also know that not everyone agrees on this issue and dissenters may never understand or accept the facts. Yet, we plug along trying to help people see the truth about corn supply, ethanol’s impact, and more.

First, our corn supply is plentiful enough to meet everyone’s needs. We are providing more corn for food and feed, and have corn left over at the end of the year. After the 2007 harvest, we met all needs and have more than 1.5 billion bushels left over. According to the current USDA forecast, we will meet all needs and have more than a billion bushels left over after the 2008 harvest. Projections for when the renewable fuels standard reaches it maximum of 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol show that we also will produce more than enough corn for food, feed and other uses – including ethanol production.

When you take into account the fact that ethanol production, as projected for 2008, will result in an additional 1 billion bushels of livestock feed, you find that ethanol itself will consume only about 22 percent of the 2008 corn supply while livestock feed will use 45 percent. That’s a lot of corn that goes, ultimately, into food.

Our opponents also talk about the impact on wheat, and allege that wheat production is down, thanks to the renewable fuels standard. The truth: Ever since the RFS kicked in, wheat acreage has been on the increase, according to the USDA. In 2005, 57.23 million acres of wheat were planted. This year, the number is 63.46 million acres — the highest in 10 years.

We remain convinced that technology is an important tool for guaranteeing an adequate and consistent supply that meets all needs. It is the primary reason that corn yields have been on the rise since the mid-1990s. In fact, some technology provides are predicting that average yields can reach 300 bushels of corn per acre, nearly double the current yield.

When it comes to corn prices, consider this: The USDA’s average projected farm price of corn from the 2008 harvest dropped to $5.40 on Aug. 11, only weeks after corn futures neared $8. In fact, corn can be bought for less than $5 in some places. Even the price of a barrel of crude oil and a gallon of gasoline has gone down.

The article can be found on NCGA’s Web site, www.ncga.com.

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