Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer has only been on the job officially for about a month but he has been busy making the rounds of farm meetings. During his appearance at the 2008 Commodity Classic on Friday, Schafer expressed great optimism for agriculture – record prices, record farm income, record exports and the blending of energy and agriculture.
During a press conference following his appearance at the general session, Schafer fielded questions from farm media about biofuels and ethanol in particular. Asked if there was any chance that there might be a delay in implementing the new Renewable Fuels Standard because of recent reports claiming that biofuels are bad for the environment, Schafer said no.
“I don’t because no matter what happens it’s not going to have an effect this year,” Schafer said. “We are getting to the point of topping out on ethanol production, not because of production capacity, but because of our ability to deliver it in the current infrastructure.”
“The research dollars are going in to move from ethanol to the cellulosic generation,” Schafer continued. “While we are playing catch up on non-price distorting feedstocks for ethanol, which is going to take some time, we do think we are arriving at the levels this year where we are going to see a leveling off of (commodity) prices.”
Listen to Schafer’s comments here: