Food vs Fuel Commentary

Cindy Zimmerman

This comes from the Aberdeen (SD) News and the columnist is Alan Guebert of Ag Comm in Delavan, Ill.

His conclusion on the food vs fuel issue is this: America will never run out of corn regardless of future domestic or foreign market demand. That bold prediction is not bold at all because price will ration supply.

For proof, look at recent gasoline prices. Despite war, hurricanes, a growing domestic economy and fierce overseas competition for crude oil, the U.S. was never without gasoline because price, the point where supply intersects demand, rationed it.

Sure, we grumbled when gas prices topped $3 a gallon, but we still had fuel because price slowed demand to ensure supply. If it hadn’t, price would have risen until an inevitable market equilibrium was reached.

I know the food vs. fuel doomsayers are going to reply that the problem will be when the price gets too high and poor starving people can’t afford to buy corn to eat (bearing in mind that the corn we produce is generally not used for human consumption). But the whole column is a good read anyway and when it comes to economics prognosticating, it has just as much validity as anything else.