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AMI Letter in Chicago Tribune: Energy Solutions Shouldn't Come From Corn

Monday, April 4, 2011

(American Meat Institute)

The U.S. needs energy solutions that do not rely on corn and do not drive food prices higher, according to a letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune from AMI President J. Patrick Boyle.   

Boyle’s letter appeared in response to a March 26 op ed from former Agriculture Secretary John Block (Rising Food Prices? Can't Blame Ethanol).

Boyle noted that because of increased demand from ethanol plants, corn supplies are at their lowest levels in 15 years, which has sent corn prices soaring, putting tremendous pressure on farmers, ranchers and processors who rely on corn as a major feed source for food animals. 

“When corn prices soar, herd sizes are reduced and meat supplies shrink. As the supply shrinks, the price rises at the local grocery store. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ February Consumer Price Index, retail meat prices rose 9.2 percent during the past year,” Boyle wrote. 

He also highlighted the fact that because of a federal mandate and subsidies, four out of every 10 rows of corn grown in the U.S. go to produce fuel for cars or trucks, not food or feed.

“It is certainly true that food prices are nudged upwards by some factors beyond our control. But burning our food and feed in our gas tanks is something we can, and should, control,” Boyle concluded.  “We must develop energy solutions that are not based on major food and feed crops, like corn. In this way, we can fuel our vehicles – and our people – at prices they can afford.”

The letter can be viewed at:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/letters/chi-110401boyle_briefs,0,3893452.story.


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