Ethanol, Corn Not Culprit in Rising Food Prices

Joanna Schroeder

The American Farm Bureau Federation, Growth Energy, National Farmers Union, and National Corn Growers Association joined together today to host a media call to applaud the recently released report from the Congressional Budget Office, “The Impact of Ethanol Use on Food Prices and Greenhouse-Gas Emissions.” The report concluded that from April 2007-April 2008 ethanol did have a slight impact on rising food prices but that other culprits, such as high energy prices, had the most impact on rising food costs. Of the 5.1 percent increase in food prices, expanded ethanol production contributed between 0.5 and 0.8 percent of the increase in food prices measured by the consumer price index.

cereal_isleBob Stallman, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, began by saying, “The results come as no surprise to us. We have called for hearings to determine why food prices have increased. It’s disingenuous to only look at corn when determining why food prices are increasing. We think they owe us an apology.”

Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy expanded on the factors that did have the most impact on rising food prices including the weak dollar, increased exports, unregulated energy markets, and oil speculation.  Roger Johnson, President of the National Farmers Union noted that studies have shown that during the same time food prices and gas prices were on the rise, ethanol saved consumers an average of 34 cents per gallon. This equates to nearly $500 per year for the average family.

The ethanol industry has recently filed a “Green Jobs Waiver” or “E15 Waiver” with the EPA to increase the blend level from 10 percent to 15 percent. It has been argued by ethanol proponents that unless the blend wall is increased the industry won’t be able to achieve the goals set out in the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) calling for 36 billion gallons of biofuels blended per year by 2022. “We won’t get there unless we make the ethanol industry profitable again and get through the higher blend wall,” summed up Rick Tolman, CEO of the National Corn Growers Association. “We will provide what we need to get to the next generation of biofuels.”

corn, Ethanol, food and fuel, Food prices, Research