Food prices not related to ethanol

Published 9:33 am Monday, August 20, 2012

A lot of talk this summer has focused on ethanol and corn producers driving up the price of groceries. This is factually wrong and misleading.

Of America’s entire corn crop, only the starch is used in ethanol production, a total of only 14.5 percent of the crop. All the protein, fiber and oil from corn is returned into the cycle as a livestock and poultry feed known as distillers grains. These distillers grains not only replace corn in animal livestock feed, but also soybean meal, benefiting food production.

The real driver of food prices has nothing to do with agriculture, let alone ethanol. Energy intensive costs, such as transportation and storage, and marketing are the real culprits. As oil increases, so do the costs associated with bringing goods to market. For each food dollar spent at the store, 84.9 cents can be attributed to marketing, labor, packaging, transportation, storage and processing costs, while the farmer only gets 14.1 cents.

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The facts are the facts: we can’t blame corn growers or the ethanol industry for changes in the price of food.


Dave Smith

General manager

Poet Biorefining