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Scientific American Magazine: U.S. Should End Corn-to-Ethanol Subsidies

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

(American Meat Institute)

The recent surge in world food prices is already creating havoc in poor countries and the worse is yet to come unless the U.S. ends its misguided corn-to-ethanol subsidies, according to a new article in the June 2008 issue of Scientific American.

The 2005 Energy Policy Act mandates a minimum of 7.5 billion gallons of domestic renewable-fuel production, which will overwhelmingly be corn-based ethanol, by 2012. Consequently, up to a third of the U.S. mid-Western maize crop this year will be converted to ethanol, causing a cascade of price increases across the food chain,” the article states.

The article notes that food price increases are pummeling poor food-importing regions, with Africa by far the hardest hit. Several countries, such as Egypt, India and Vietnam, have cut off their rice exports in response to soaring prices at home, thereby exacerbating the effects on rice-importing countries.

The article proposes several measures that should be taken in response to soaring food prices, including putting an end to corn-to-ethanol subsidies.

“Farmers hardly need them given world demand for food and feed grains. There is certainly a case for re-doubling the scientific efforts to produce bio-fuels on lands which do not compete with food crops, for example from cellulosic ethanol, but this technology is still not ready for the market,” the article states.

To read this article in its entirety, click here: http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=surging-food-prices

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