Another Go-Round for Food v. Fuel

Just when you think that ethanol opponents have returned to their corner, they go another round in the food v. fuel debate.

“They keep repeating the same complaints without any thought to whether they have been disproven,” writes Bart Schott, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), in a Feb. 9th post.  “We and our allies in American agriculture and the ethanol industry have spilled a lot of digital ink trying to set the record straight.”

As an ally for American agriculture, we’ll spill a little more digital ink today explaining why ethanol has a minimal impact on the corn supply and on food prices.

There are two reasons why Schott says we needn’t be concerned about ethanol’s impact on the corn supply and food prices:

1. We’re growing more corn on each acre.  In 2010, U.S. growers reached an average yield of 152.8 bushels per acre (bu/A). In 2000, it was 136.9 bu/A.  In 1990, the average yield was 118.5 bu/A.

2. Corn demand for ethanol production is stabilizing as we’re reaching the limit of how much ethanol can be utilized.  The U.S. ethanol production represents only 3 percent of the increasing global grain supply, according to the Renewable Fuels Association points.  Therefore, it can have little, if any, impact on global food prices.

“Rising food prices” has been making the headlines worldwide since the New Year began, but we have to remember that there are many factors contributing to increased food prices.  Corrupt foreign regimes, currency fluctuation, land price and availability and even the weather factor into food costs.

For more factors, read Schott’s blog post in its entirety at