President Bush's plan to power up ethanol production is raising red flags
among the nation's poultry and pig producers. They worry that rapidly increasing
the ethanol production will further push up prices for corn, the main animal feed
"We estimate that ethanol demand has already increased
the price of chicken by six cents per pound wholesale," said the National
Chicken Council's chief economist William P. Roenigk. "If government continues
to push corn out of livestock and poultry feed and into the energy supply, the
cost of producing food will only increase."
Concerns from the pig
"The National Pork Producers Council
supports the president's goals of energy security and independence through the
development of a vibrant and robust domestic renewable fuels market. However,
the pork industry has concerns about the rapid growth in the renewable sector,
including increased feed input costs, the availability of corn, the ability to
use ethanol by-products and the time it will take for feedgrain markets to
stabilize. Producers applaud the administration for adopting a 'circuit breaker'
to guard against unforeseen circumstances such as a drought, and we urge the
Secretary of Agriculture to establish a working group within USDA to study the
emerging biofuels economy and its implications for producers, the livestock
sector and the consumers they supply and serve."
Study the impact
The Chicken Council
and other groups including the National Milk Producers Federation, American Meat
Institute, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the National Pork
Producers Council and the National Turkey Federation, wrote a letter this week
to Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns asking him to set up a working group to
study the impact biofuels will have on food producers. "Given that corn prices
are the major feed input cost for dairy cows, and that corn is expected to reach
record prices levels in 2007, the USDA needs to do more homework on the
implications of the ethanol gold rush on milk and meat costs," Jerry Kozak,
president and CEO of NMPF, said in a statement.
The Bush plan calls for a 20% cut in
gasoline consumption over the next 10 years, largely through an enormous boost
in federal mandates for ethanol and other renewable fuels to 35 billion gallons
State of the Union (energy
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