AP report already causing backlash from farmers and lobbyists
Across the Dakotas and Nebraska, more than 1 million acres of the Great Plains are giving way to cornfields as farmers transform the wild expanse that once served as the backdrop for American pioneers.
A US ethanol glut is causing some biofuels producers to go full circle by diverting their corn from fuel production towards food products such as energy bars and fish food, the Wall Street Journal reports.
In 2007, then-president George Bush signed a law that required increased production of ethanol. Swelling ethanol demand for fuel combined with this past summer's drought has driven the price of corn (used to make ethanol) up. In fact, prices have swollen some 400 percent in the last seven years. That's comforting for corn growers, who are dealing with much smaller yields than normal. But it's not comforting for livestock producers, poultry farmers and grocery shoppers.
Farming is one of the most difficult ways to earn a living. You'd think that with all the innovations mankind has developed over the centuries, we could make farmers' lives easier. But as it turns out, sometimes miracles of modern science make things tougher. Literally.
Sugar beets are a more efficient source for ethanol production than corn for a lot of reasons: they use less land, less water and, they can grown in many regions during the winter where it's too cold to grow corn.
Corn-based ethanol is a controversial fuel in its own right, and a longstanding federal subsidy for blending the biofuel with gasoline has been an additional source of consternation over the last 30 years. According to The Detroit News, Congress has wrapped up its work for 2011 without extending the incentive, a move that's drawn praise from environmental groups and taxpayer advocates.
For good or ill, a lot of what Americans eat is made of corn. It's not just the obvious ears alongside your main course, it's the sweetener in your drinks and to a large extent the meat on your sandwich. Corn is a viable crop across a large swath of the United States, and thanks to both modern farming techniques and not insignificant government subsidies, it's an extremely cheap source of calories for both humans and animals. Twice as much U.S. corn goes to feeding animals as it does to directly
U.S. ethanol production fell 3.5 percent for the week ending July 8, down 32,000 barrels per day (bpd) from the prior week. Ethanol producers shouldn't worry much, since this is up six percent from the same time frame in 2010 and most biofuel refineries in the U.S. are reporting profitable margins.
There are a lot of reasons why corn-based ethanol may not be best biofuel available to ween ourselves off of petroleum, most of which have been well covered on this site. Today, we came across one that we were previously unaware of, and, interestingly enough, it has to do with bacteria and antibiotics.
Bad news for ethanol lovers. One of the most important ethanol producers in the U.S., ADM, has announced that U.S. production of ethanol was down by 21 percent, from some 12.9 million gallons in mid-late 2008 to 10.2 million right now. The market was up when oil prices were high, plants were built (or planned for) about everywhere and ethanol producers received big subsidies. Then came the lower price of oil, a higher price for corn and the credit crunch - all obvious reasons why producers now f
We've been covering the ongoing debate on whether or not ethanol is to blame for the increase in corn and feedstock prices, and opinions on both sides seem to be pretty strong. According to Pilgrim's Pride President and Chief Executive
Although some have argued, even recently, that the drive to convert large amounts of farming acreage to ethanol production has had no effect on the prices people pay for food, that is not the memo our prez has received. I guess someone in Washington noticed the price of corn has shot up 250 percent in the past two years. Not content to let the market work it out for itself, Bush spake to the masses gathered before him at the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIRC), "And so we
Billionaire Sir Richard Branson made headlines recently when he knocked the way Americans produce ethanol. In a recent interview with Charlie Rose, Branson fleshed out his ideas on ways America can improve the way it produces the alcohol fuel. Thirty minutes in, he says sugar produces seven times more ethanol than corn per acre and would not emit CO2. Branson also said sugar would not mean cutting down the rain forest because there is plenty of it and the price is at an all-time low.
We (humans) tend to see ourselves as having dominion over nature. We take and destroy when we cut down trees and harvest crops. But here's a question: What if, like with bees, plants are actually using us and they are getting more out of the farming relationship than we do? Take ethanol production from corn, which we know to be very inefficient when compared with other sources. It's always assumed Americans do it because of an accident of presidential politics, history of farming in America, eco