National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement preceding the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works’ hearing entitled, “Oversight Hearing on Domestic Renewable Fuels: From Ethanol to Advanced Biofuels.”

“Investing in renewable fuels has never been more critical to help our country transition from imported fossil fuels to a cleaner environment, less dependence on unstable foreign energy sources, and consumer choice.

“The agriculture sector continues to play a very important role in helping to achieve these goals, and ethanol produced from our farm fields has a real, measurable impact. Over the last five years, the U.S. has reduced oil imports from 450 million barrels of oil per month to 340 million barrels per month. That is a 24 percent decline in oil imports due in significant part to increased production of ethanol.

“Critics who make the argument that ethanol has driven food prices are wrong. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Congressional Budget Office found that biofuels had a minimal impact on food prices during the 2008 food crisis. Every month, NFU publishes a document called “ Farmer’s Share,” which shows the amount of take-home pay that farmers receive for commonly purchased groceries based on USDA statistics. For every dollar spent on food, farmers take home, on average, merely 20 cents. For a $4.39 box of corn flakes, farmers only take home eight cents. The remainder goes to food marketers, processors, wholesalers, distributors and retailers, much of which is driven by energy costs. It is clear what is driving up food costs, and it isn’t the ethanol industry or our nation’s farmers.

“NFU encourages the committee to consider the contributions that ethanol continues to make toward a more sustainable and secure future for our country.”