Corn prices have increased about $1.50 per bushel since last fall, more or less depending on your location. That has added another $7.50 per hundredweight of gain to every market hog, notes Glenn Grimes, University of Missouri agricultural economist.
Livestock producers want to see some changes. Several commodity groups, even the packer/processor group — the American Meat Institute, have testified and lobbied in support of governmental intervention related to some of the tax incentives that the ethanol production industry currently enjoys.
Now, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), stepped forward to argue that the nation's ethanol industry needs to move beyond corn for its production needs. He indicated that Congress will specifically work to identify alternative raw materials for the product as it writes the 2007 Farm Bill.
He pointed out that Congress might take money from traditional government-funded ag-commodity programs and divert it to support crops that aren't of commercial value but could function as renewable-fuel sources.
U.S. agriculture should have no trouble meeting the ethanol industry's corn demand this year, but with a commercially viable cellulose-based ethanol industry potentially years away,
Harkin charged Congress to expand and support the future of renewable-fuel production. He points out that a commercially viable cellulose-based ethanol industry is years away. Harkin acknowledged that corn growers can meet ethanol's corn appetite this year. However, it needs a broader reach for long-term success and viability for all corn users.