Alliance To Protect Ethanol Subsidies

A group of U.S. agribusiness companies — led by Archer Daniels Midland and including familiar retail suppliers — have formed an alliance to combat the food-vs.-fuel critics and to preserve government subsidies to ethanol, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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"The Alliance for Abundant Food and Energy — which includes seed makers Monsanto Co. and DuPont Co., as well as farm-gear maker Deere & Co. — wants to spread its belief that renewable fuels won’t cut into food supplies if new technologies, such as genetically modified crops, are used to their fullest, says the report. “The group is also working hard to protect government subsidies for ethanol production.”

The report notes that the alliance has strong opponents, most notably U.S. food producers such as Tyson Food Inc. that are lobbying to get ethanol subsidies scrapped or reduced.

DTN’s Todd Neeley adds his comments to the Wall Street Journal report. “The companies that have formed this new alliance together have significant influence in the future of the ethanol industry,” he says. “DuPont, for example, is doing extensive research looking at enzymes for cellulosic-ethanol production, and has partnered with BP for the development of biobutanol, a favorable alternative to both fossil fuel and ethanol. ADM is one of the largest ethanol producers in the world, with more than 1 billion gallons of ethanol production capacity. Monsanto is one of the major seed producers in the world and has been developing higher-starch corn for ethanol production. Deere is one of several farm equipment companies looking at the possible development of equipment suitable for collecting corn cobs as a cellulosic-ethanol feedstock. The corn cob idea is being developed by Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Poet, who is relying on the expertise of Deere and other companies to find the best ways to harvest and store cobs for ethanol.”

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