The National Pork Producers Council, joined by more than 30 other organizations concerned about skyrocketing corn prices, sent a letter Wednesday urging President Bush to immediately suspend the duties and quotas on imported ethanol.

“The suspension of the 54 cents per gallon duty on ethanol will benefit Americans by introducing market competition for a product that is mandated and foster downward pressure for domestic ethanol and its feedstock. Domestic dairy, livestock and poultry farmers, food and beverage manufacturers, employees in these industries and American food consumers will benefit from this action,” the letter notes.

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) has also sent a letter containing a similar request as part of a plan to address escalating food prices. "To demonstrate leadership, the United States should lift its tariff on Brazilian ethanol that now shelters the U.S. industry," Lugar said in a letter to Bush posted on his Web site. The letter notes that the suspension of the tariff will help producers, processors and consumers who are being directly and immediately impacted by rising feed and food prices due to the government mandate to convert nearly 30 percent of the domestic corn crop into fuel.

Patrick Boyle, president of American Meat Institute, said that while there are many factors driving up corn prices, the combined impact of an ethanol mandate, subsidies, and a trade-distorting ethanol tariff has concentrated the economic consequences on American livestock and poultry producers and consumers. “The immediate suspension of this duty could lower the economic pressure on livestock and poultry producers as well as on fuel consumers,” Boyle said.

“In the short term, we’re asking the President for immediate relief from the tariff,” Boyle noted. “But in the long term, we need to reopen the decision to burn our food as fuel,” he added.
Other organizations joining in the request to the Bush administration include:

  • American Meat Institute
  • National Cattlemen's Beef Association
  • National Chicken Council
  • National Turkey Federation
  • Pilgrims Pride
  • Smithfield Foods
  • Tyson Foods
  • United Egg Producers
  • Cal-Maine Foods
  • Minnesota Turkey Growers Association

For a copy of the letter, click here.