Ag Secretary Slams Food Industry for Ethanol Attack

Cindy Zimmerman

Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer spoke to the Cellulosic Ethanol Summit Wednesday in Florida and outlined all the advancements being made in biofuels and the potential for the industry in the future. “Nobody is talking about us going backward,” Schafer said, then quickly corrected himself, saying “almost nobody,” noting that the Grocery Manufacturers Association and some others would like to see the industry move backward.

Cellulosic Summit 08 LunchSpeaking to members of the media after his speech, Schafer said the group that held a press conference yesterday calling for an end to ethanol subsidies “stood up there with no credibility whatsoever,” when they claimed that it will take 18-24 months for the lower commodity prices to bring food prices back down. “I just think that they are totally off base,” Schafer said. “They are trying to justify the increased cost and increased profits that they’re making at the expense of another industry and that’s just not appropriate.”

Schafer left the summit for Brazil to lead the U.S. delegation at an International Conference on Biofuels in Sao Paulo this week. “Seventy-five countries are going to be there,” Schafer said. “Our effort is to come together between the US and Brazil as the world’s two leading biofuels producers and look at regional and global approaches to bioenergy.”

Schafer also announced at the conference that applications are now being accepted for loan guarantees under the Biorefinery Assistance Program of the 2008 Farm Bill. The Biorefinery Assistance Program is designed to promote the development of new and emerging technologies for the production of advanced biofuels.

You can listen to some of Secretary Schafer’s comments to the press here:

Cellulosic, Ethanol, Government, News