Several US animal industry groups have urged the House Ways and Means Committee to allow a 30-year-old tax credit and a protective tariff for ethanol to expire at the end of this year.
"Although we support the need to advance renewable and alternative sources of energy, we strongly believe that it is time that the mature corn-based ethanol industry operates on a level playing field with other commodities that rely on corn as their major input," the American Meat Institute (AMI), the National Turkey Federation, the National Chicken Council and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association in the US, wrote in a letter to the responsible congressmenof the tax-writing committee.
According to AMI, the letter notes serious concerns over the negative economic effects that government support for corn-ethanol has had on animal agriculture, specifically the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) and the import tariff on foreign ethanol.
"The blender's tax credit, coupled with the import tariff on foreign ethanol, has distorted the corn market, increased the cost of feeding animals, and squeezed production margins – resulting in job losses and bankruptcies in rural communities across America," the letter reads.
The letter notes that a September 2008 by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) stated that the dramatic increase in livestock production costs were attributed to higher costs for feed.
"There is no safety net to protect against the volatility in the commodity markets, forcing all industries to pay higher prices for input costs due to the fluctuations in the corn market," the letter states.
The letter ends by reminding the committee that animal agriculture is united in its support for energy independence and the development of the renewable fuels industry.
"However, 30 years of support has created a mature corn ethanol industry that now needs to compete fairly in the marketplace and allow for the next generation of renewable fuels to grow," the letter concludes.
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