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At the Pump News

Industry News

E-15: Tested, Proven, and Winning Every NASCAR Race Day

Since NASCAR’s switch at the Daytona 500 kickoff of the 2011 racing season, competitors in the motorsport’s three major national racing series—NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series—have reached more than one million miles in race, practice and qualifying on the new 15-percent ethanol blend fuel Sunoco Green E15. NASCAR officially hit the one million mile mark with the new fuel at Watkins Glen International Speedway in mid-August 2011.

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BIOFUELS UPDATE: ***FORD’S 2011 F SERIES DIESEL PICKUP APPROVED FOR B20 USE

U.S. automaker Ford announced on Monday that its new 2011 F-Series Super Duty (R) diesel pickups will be fully compatible with a 20% biodiesel blend.

“This is the first of what we expect to be many formal announcements of B20 approval in new clean diesel technology,” said Steve Howell, technical director for the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). “With the formal approval and acceptance of B20 in the 2011 Super Duty, Ford now has a clean and green engine of tomorrow that will also reduce NOx emissions by more than 80%. NBB already has inquiries from biodiesel fans wanting to purchase a new B20 pickup,” he added.

According to Ford’s press release, components of the pickup were laboratory tested. “The strict testing work also ensured the new engine is B20 compatible, which allows customers an environmentally responsible fueling option of using blends up to 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel. Durability cycles were run on multiple blends of diesel fuel to ensure the robustness of the system,” Ford explained.

NBB noted that the durability cycles were tested to more than 250,000 miles, with multiple biodiesel blends.

Meanwhile, NBB explained that it and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory have spent more than $10 million testing B20 and understanding how it works in the new diesel engines and after-treatment technology during the last five years. That’s in addition to similar efforts by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) like Ford.

According to NBB spokeswoman Jenna Higgins, blends of B20 or higher are now accepted by more than 18 OEMs, including some Chrysler and GM models, as well as models by Case IH, Case Construction, Caterpillar, Cummins, International/Navistar, John Deere, New Holland, Arctic Cat, Buhler, Fairbanks Morse, Hayes Diversified Technologies, Perkins, TomCar, Toro and Valtra.

-Rachel Gantz, rgantz@opisnet.com

Increaded Blends of Ethanol are proving safe for all Vehicles

Click here to read the online fact sheet provided by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Survey: Biofuels, Agriculture not to Blame for Food Price Jump

At least one surveyed group isn’t buying the notion that biofuels and agriculture are behind the recent run-up in food prices.

The survey, conducted for the United Soybean Board (USB) and soybean checkoff, found that 82% of those surveyed agree that foreign oil-producing countries and the high cost of fuel impacting farming and processing, packaging, storing and shipping food are to blame for food price increases, not U.S. farmers, or by extension, biofuels. The press release announcing the survey was made available on Monday.

The “food versus fuel” debate has waged in the media for the past several months related to the impact biofuels are having on food prices, and caused lawmakers both in Congress and in state legislatures to rethink previously enacted biofuel mandates.

Among other findings:

  • 77% of those surveyed favor the use of biodiesel as a source of energy that can meet the U.S.’ needs in the next 5-10 years;
  • 74% of those surveyed were more favorable toward biodiesel after hearing it benefits the environment; and
  • 70% of those surveyed were more favorable toward biodiesel after hearing it’s a new green industry that creates jobs.

The soybean checkoff believes it’s important that consumers understand the rising cost of petroleum represents the major reason for higher consumer food prices and that biodiesel represents a viable, useful and beneficial alternative to imported oil,” said USB Vice Chairman and Nebraska soybean farmer Chuck Myers.

”Demand for soy biodiesel has very little impact on the price of food,” said Myers. “A soybean consists mostly of protein-rich meal, and 98% of that meal is used to feed animals that produce food such as poultry, pork, beef and fish,” he added.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which has led the charge to inform policymakers and the public of the effects that current biofuel policies are having on food prices, did not respond to requests to weigh in on this survey.

Additionally, USB did not include a full copy of its survey on the board’s website and calls to USB weren’t returned by presstime.

According to USB’s press release, the survey was conducted by Foley &Lardner LLP and Wilson Research Strategies. “Respondents completed an online survey and were drawn from a representative Internet panel. Interviews were completed in late May,” USB noted. The survey had a sample size of 800, with a margin of error of +/-3.46%.

–Rachel Gantz, rgantz@opisnet.com

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Kellogg’s Improves Profits (While Blaming Ethanol for Higher Food Prices)

According to the Wall Street Journal and other financial publications, Kellogg Co.’s second-quarter profit rose 3.7% as higher prices offset increases in advertising spending and raw-material costs. Kellogg is another active player in the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association efforts to blame higher food prices on corn based ethanol.

The Battle Creek, Mich., cereal maker, whose brands include Rice Krispies, Pop-Tarts, Eggo waffles and Morningstar Farms, reported net income of $312 million, or 82 cents a share, up from $301 million, or 75 cents a share, a year earlier.

Our point of view: Reports said higher prices offset increases in advertising spending. We wonder if part of that increased advertising spending has been helping to fund the misinformation campaign to make consumers believe that ethanol and corn prices are the culprit for higher prices at the checkout.

Kraft, one of the key players in the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) efforts to blame higher food prices on corn farmers, announced quarterly profits this week of $879 million, up 10 percent from last year’s second quarter.

Northfield-based Kraft on Monday beat Wall Street’s expectations with its quarterly earnings and raised its own profit forecast for the rest of the year. Kraft, maker of products ranging from Oreos to Jell-O to Oscar Mayer meats, posted second-quarter earnings-excluding special items-of $879 million, or 58 cents a share, up 10 percent from last year’s adjusted $802 million, or 50 cents a share. Second-quarter results include a 6-cents-a-share benefit from “certain commodity hedging activities,” the company noted. Still, even with that gain stripped out, Kraft topped the 50 cents-per-share profit estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Financial, according to report in the Chicago Tribune.

Our point of view: While we’re not against companies making a profit, we don’t think it’s right for them to blame corn farmers and ethanol plants for the higher prices they are charging the consumer.

Check out http://blog.foodpricetruth.org

Increaded Blends of Ethanol are proving safe for all Vehicles

Click here to read the online fact sheet provided by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Survey: Biofuels, Agriculture not to Blame for Food Price Jump

At least one surveyed group isn’t buying the notion that biofuels and agriculture are behind the recent run-up in food prices.

The survey, conducted for the United Soybean Board (USB) and soybean checkoff, found that 82% of those surveyed agree that foreign oil-producing countries and the high cost of fuel impacting farming and processing, packaging, storing and shipping food are to blame for food price increases, not U.S. farmers, or by extension, biofuels. The press release announcing the survey was made available on Monday.

The “food versus fuel” debate has waged in the media for the past several months related to the impact biofuels are having on food prices, and caused lawmakers both in Congress and in state legislatures to rethink previously enacted biofuel mandates.

Among other findings:

  • 77% of those surveyed favor the use of biodiesel as a source of energy that can meet the U.S.’ needs in the next 5-10 years;
  • 74% of those surveyed were more favorable toward biodiesel after hearing it benefits the environment; and
  • 70% of those surveyed were more favorable toward biodiesel after hearing it’s a new green industry that creates jobs.

The soybean checkoff believes it’s important that consumers understand the rising cost of petroleum represents the major reason for higher consumer food prices and that biodiesel represents a viable, useful and beneficial alternative to imported oil,” said USB Vice Chairman and Nebraska soybean farmer Chuck Myers.

”Demand for soy biodiesel has very little impact on the price of food,” said Myers. “A soybean consists mostly of protein-rich meal, and 98% of that meal is used to feed animals that produce food such as poultry, pork, beef and fish,” he added.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which has led the charge to inform policymakers and the public of the effects that current biofuel policies are having on food prices, did not respond to requests to weigh in on this survey.

Additionally, USB did not include a full copy of its survey on the board’s website and calls to USB weren’t returned by presstime.

According to USB’s press release, the survey was conducted by Foley &Lardner LLP and Wilson Research Strategies. “Respondents completed an online survey and were drawn from a representative Internet panel. Interviews were completed in late May,” USB noted. The survey had a sample size of 800, with a margin of error of +/-3.46%.

–Rachel Gantz, rgantz@opisnet.com

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Rumors of High Dollar Ethanol Disinformation Campaign Prove to Be True

Read more at http://www.ksgrains.com/corn

In early May, the Kansas Corn Growers Association put out a news release pointing to rumors of a multi-million dollar public relations campaign against ethanol funded by the food manufacturers industry. This week, Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, outed the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s smear campaign. On Thursday, Iowa Senator Charles Grassley went a step further, making a statement about the campaign on the Senate floor. The Senator also posted the GMA request for proposal as well as the public relations campaign proposal from Washington, DC firm Glover Park which was one of the firms hired for the job. . . . read more

Read Senator Chuck Grassley’s Statement

Visit the National Corn Growers Association for more information

GMA Request for Proposal

Glover Park public relations firm proposal

Zarco USA Grand Opening

Watch the Video, WIBW

Zarco USA Earth Friendly Fuel Station had a grand opening Monday at Ninth and Iowa in Lawrence, Kansas.

It is the first of its kind in Kansas, using blender pumps that offer customers lower fuel prices.

Zarco USA had a three-hour promotion Monday offering fuel for $1.85 a gallon.

Alternative fuel vehicle owners use blender pumps for more choices to get better fuel economy and with less air pollution. The station offers E-10, E-20, E-30, and E-85 fuels.

The station also boasts a coffee shop that is energy efficient with solar energy and a grass roof.

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Fuel of the Future

Watch the Video, KSNT.com

Fifteen hundred locations dispense E-85 fuel in the U.S.

Zarco USA is an eco-friendly gas station selling ethanol and bio diesel fuels.

Scott Zaremba owns the station and says the green business’s success is a sign of the times.

“Renewable fuels are something we’ve had around for a long time, but with the price of crude oil moving up in the past three years it was something I thought was a viable option,” said Zaremba.

A timely business move all customers appreciate.

A ten percent ethanol blend works in vehicles of all makes and models.

“I have a 1992 Buick L’sabre,” said customer Paul Marks.

“You have to save a penny every place you can,” said Shirley Harrell, customer.

“Until gas prices drop off, that’s going to be the name of the game,” said Marks.

The blended fuel is cheaper.

“Bio-diesel also burns cleaner and puts off less emissions,” said Zaremba.

The one of a kind machines give the consumer a choice between two and 99 percent bio-diesel, and when you make a selection it’s blended right on the spot.

“Anyone who can use it, it would be much less expensive,” said Harrell.

And for those weary of change. the blends have such a wide range so people can ease themselves into using the new fuel.

“You can start with a low blend learn about it, and move up,” said Zaremba.

“The price is the same, but it’s also about the environment with the recycling bins out here, it’s a one stop shop,” said Marks.

“So we think now’s the time for people to come in and learn about what we have to offer,” said Zaremba.

The station plans on opening a “green” coffee shop behind the pumps. It will feature a “living roof,” a wind turbine, and a rain garden.

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Ethanol Increases Movie Tickets? Excuse Gets Two Thumbs Down

Ethanol has been blamed for increasing the price of everything from tequila to bread to orange juice. Just when you thought you had heard everything, you read this: Kansas City-based AMC movie theaters will raise the price of popcorn and movie tickets because of ethanol. Supposedly the growing demand and higher price for field corn has led to higher prices for popcorn.

It is true that popcorn prices are higher this year. But we are still trying to figure out what that has to do with ethanol or movie tickets. It’s difficult to justify even an increase in popcorn prices at the concession stand, let alone movie ticket prices, based on ethanol’s effect on the price of popcorn.

Farmgate value of popcorn at 2008 prices is 17.5 cents per pound (farmgate value).

Energy Secretaries: Ethanol Moderates Gas Prices by 20-35 Cents Per Gallon

In the growing debate over food versus fuel, top U.S. government officials are telling Congress gas pump prices would be higher if not for increased use of ethanol. “It is clear … that biofuels are already moderating gas prices,” Energy Department Secretary Samuel Bodman and Agriculture Department Secretary Edward Schafer wrote in a letter to the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “That impact is likely to grow substantially as more biofuels come to market.”

The agencies estimate gasoline prices would be 20 cents to 35 cents per gallon higher if ethanol weren’t blended in. Further, Energy and the USDA wrote in the letter that without ethanol, the U.S. would need 7.2 billion more gallons of gasoline in 2008 to maintain current levels of travel. That would equate to 5% more gas and likely higher prices, the agencies said.

One $5 bucket of popped popcorn contains .15 pounds of popcorn worth 2.6 cents, up .6 cents from 2007.

$5 worth of popcorn from the farmer at 2008 prices would make 192 buckets of popcorn.

That $5 of popcorn is worth $960 at the concession stand at $5 per bucket.

When sold at $5.25 a bucket, that five dollars worth of popcorn will bring $1,008 at the concession stand.

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Ethanol Saved Consumers $100 Million Over the Weekend

According to the American Coalition for Ethanol, ethanol in America’s gasoline supply saved drivers more than $100 million over the three-day Memorial Day weekend.

Merrill Lynch analysts estimate if ethanol production was not expanding, oil would cost $155 per barrel and regular gasoline would average $4.45 per gallon across the nation. Ron Lamberty, a spokesman for the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), said although it might not seem like it because of high gas prices, ethanol saves motorists almost $35 million a day.

Ethanol: Helping Limit Fuel Prices

While critics accuse ethanol of driving up food prices, what many do not realize is that without ethanol, energy prices would be even higher. Increased fuel costs would no doubt increase food prices. Following are just a few of the studies that show ethanol is a key factor in keeping fuel prices from rising.

“Impact of Ethanol on Retail Gasoline Prices in Missouri,” LECG LLC, John M. Urbanchuk 

  • In 2007, Missouri drivers saved 7.7 cents per gallon at the retail pump by filling up with a 10 percent ethanol blend, totaling a savings of $158.2 million, or $40 for each of Missouri’s 3.9 million licensed drivers. That savings is expected to reach 9.8 cents per gallon or $72.80 per driver in 2008.
  • Over the next decade, Missouri drivers will save 7.2 cents per gallon thanks to ethanol, amounting to annual savings of $214 million or $54 per driver.
  • www.mocorn.org/news/2008/LECG_MO_E10_Analysis.pdf

 

“The Impact of Ethanol Production on U.S. and Regional Gasoline Prices and on the Profitability of the U.S. Oil Refinery Industry,” Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University, Xiaodong Du and Dermot J. Hayes

  • Growth in ethanol production has allowed for retail gas prices to be $0.29 to $0.40 per gallon lower than it would have been without ethanol.
  • The results of gas pricing savings varied in five U.S. regions according to the region’s access to ethanol, ranging from 39.5 cents in the Midwest to 17.1 cents in the Rocky Mountain region, mainly because of the comparatively low gas consumption
  • The production of ethanol has reduced the profit margin of the oil industry.
  • www.card.iastate.edu/publications/DBS/PDFFiles/08wp467.pdf

 

“The Impact of Ethanol Production on Food, Feed and Fuel,” Ethanol Across America

  • By adding to the nation’s fuel supply, increased ethanol minimizes the impact of gas price increases.
  • The amount of raw grain materials in many food products is not enough to significantly impact the cost paid by the consumer.
  • www.cleanfuelsdc.org/pubs/documents/FoodFeedandFuel.pdf

 

“The Effects of Ethanol on Texas Food and Feed,” Texas A&M University

  • Relaxing the renewable fuels standard does not result in significantly lower corn prices. This is due to the ethanol infrastructure already in place and the generally positive economics for the industry.
  • www.afpc.tamu.edu/pubs/2/515/RR-08-01.pdf

 

“What is Driving Food Price Inflation?” Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

  • Supplies of agricultural commodities are expected to tighten further as worldwide populations grow and incomes rise, boosting demand.
  • Marketing costs have risen sharply over the last 50 years, consuming a greater share of the retail food dollar.
  • Over the past three decades rising labor and energy costs have boosted that [marketing] share steadily, from 67 percent in the 1970s to 80 percent today.
  • Labor costs have emerged as the biggest component of the retail food dollar. In the year ahead, labor costs are expected to fuel food increases.
  • Energy prices are also a large component of the retail food dollar, boosting prices by raising the cost of processing, manufacturing and transporting food.
  • http://www.kc.frb.org/RegionalAffairs/MainStreet/MSE_0108.pdf

 

 

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USDA OFFICIALS BRIEFING WITH REPORTERS ON THE CASE FOR FOOD AND FUEL USDA May 19, 2008; USDA Headquarters – Washington, D.C.

SEC. ED SCHAFER: Thank you all for joining us. It’s a great day in America, and we’re glad to have you here in Washington, D.C., and especially at USDA today. As you can see, we have been talking a lot in the United States these days and globally actually about the food versus fuel situation. And we are going to make the case today for food and fuel.

We think the time has come for USDA to join in the public conversation about the relationship between food prices and biofuels. We want to offer our perspective on what is happening in the marketplace, to share our data, and the analysis of what is happening. That’s why I am joined today by Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner; Joe Glauber, our chief economist; Tom Dorr under secretary for Rural Development; and Dr. Gale Buchanan, the under secretary for Research, Education and Economics. . .

Download EntireTranscript

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Big Oil Making Big Profit

While consumers are pinched with record prices at the pump and growing food costs, oil companies are enjoying times of soaring profit. The higher costs of oil are being passed on to customers. Yet, oil companies continue to enjoy increasing profits and $18 billion in federal subsidies.

“Oil Industry Profit Review 2007,” Congressional Research Service

  • The oil industry recorded $155 billion in profits, the five major oil companies accounted for 75 percent of these profits.
  • On average, the revenue of integrated oil companies increased by 7.1 percent. With output declining, it is likely that revenue growth was based on increasing prices.
  • http://opencrs.com/document/RL34437

 

“Oil Mergers, Manipulation and Mirages: How Eroding Legal Protections and Lax Regulatory Oversight Harm Consumers,” Public Citizen’s Energy Program

  • Oil companies are using the recently deregulated energy trading markets to manipulate prices.
  • Net income on domestic refineries has experienced much more growth than international refineries.
  • Mergers created a tendency for companies to limit production capacity, then the industry supply decreased and profits increased.
  • www.ftc.gov/bcp/workshops/energymarkets/background/slocum_oilgas.pdf

 

“The Impact of Ethanol Production on U.S. and Regional Gasoline Prices and on the Profitability of the U.S. Oil Refinery Industry,” Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University, Xiaodong Du and Dermot J. Hayes

 

“Big Oil vs. Ethanol,” Consumer Federation of America

  • The oil industry is threatened by ethanol and has systematically used its power to prevent ethanol’s success.
  • Consumers have a stake in the use of ethanol, because of the prices at the pump and to combat the nation’s “oil addiction” problems.
  • Supporting increased competition in the automobile fuels market will help discipline a market dominated by a handful of multinational oil companies.
  • www.consumerfed.org/pdfs/Ethanol.pdf

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Ethanol Helps Lower Fuel Prices (download PDF)

American Farm Bureau Federation, March 12, 2008
“Americans are feeling the pinch of high gasoline prices, but the fuel could cost as much as 5 cents to 10 cents more a gallon if it was not routinely blended with ethanol. Overall, U.S. consumers and taxpayers benefit from saving $7 billion to $14 billion in lower gasoline costs as a result of increased ethanol use.” http://www.fb.org/index.php?fuseaction=newsroom.newsfocus&year=2008&file=nr0312b.html

Merrill Lynch, March 24, 2008
“Without biofuels, which can be refined to produce fuels much like the ones made from petroleum, oil prices would be even higher. Merrill Lynch commodity strategist Francisco Blanch says that oil and gasoline prices would be about 15% higher if biofuel producers weren’t increasing their output.”
“Biofuels are playing ‘a critical role’ in satisfying world demand, says Fatih Birol, chief economist of the Paris-based International Energy Agency. Without them, ‘it would be much more difficult to balance global oil markets’ he said.” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120631198956758087.html

John Urbanchuck, LECG
“The use of a 10 percent ethanol blend saved Missouri drivers 7.7 cents per gallon at the retail pump in 2007 for a total savings of $158.2 million, or $40 for each of Missouri’s 3.9 million licensed drivers. Reflecting current gasoline and ethanol price movements the savings are expected to average 9.8 cents per gallon or $72.80 per driver this year as 10 percent ethanol used statewide in 2008.”
http://www.mocorn.org/news/2008/LECG_MO_E10_Analysis.pdf

Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University, April 24, 2008
“The growth in ethanol production has caused retail gasoline prices to be $0.29 to $0.40 per gallon lower than would otherwise have been the case. The analysis shows that the negative impact of ethanol on gasoline prices varies considerably across regions. The Midwest region has the biggest impact, at $0.39/gallon, while the Rocky Mountain region had the smallest impact, at $0.17/gallon.”
http://www.card.iastate.edu/publications/DBS/PDFFiles/08wp467.pdf

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Tale of Two Corns (download PDF)

When you’re driving down a highway in the Corn Belt and see acre after acre after acre of corn, don’t jump out and grab an ear for some impromptu corn on the cob. Chances are, it’s the wrong sort of corn.

There are two corns in the United States, and field corn is by far the most common, grown on more than 99 percent of all corn acres. While a small portion is processed for use as corn cereal, corn starch, corn oil and corn syrup for human consumption, it is primarily used for livestock feed, ethanol production and other manufactured goods. It’s considered a grain. Sweet corn is what people purchase fresh, frozen or canned for eating. It’s consumed as a vegetable. Unlike field corn, which is harvested when the kernels are dry and fully mature, sweet corn is picked when immature.

The following statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (for the year 2007) will give you a sense of the size of these two vastly different industries.

FIELD CORN
93.6 million planted acres
13.1 billion bushels produced (366 million tons)
Crop Value: $52.3 billion

SWEET CORN
631,400 planted acres
2.9 million tons fresh and processed
Crop Value: $625.5 million fresh; $236.9 million processed

What do some of these words mean? A bushel of corn is 56 pounds, about the weight of a large bag of dog food. An acre is about the area of a football field. A ton is 2,000 pounds, about the weight of a small car.

How Field Corn is Used

47% of field corn produced in the United States (6.15 billion bushels*) is as feed for livestock such as beef, pork or poultry.

24% (3.1 billion bushels) is used for ethanol production. Besides the ethanol this produces, this corn also will result in approximately 24 million metric tons of high-protein livestock feed in various forms and about 2.5 million pounds of corn oil.

19% (2.5 billion bushels) is exported to other countries. The top five countries to which the United States exports corn are Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan and Egypt.10% of the corn (1.4 billion bushels) goes to other food, seed and industrial uses. Field corn is a source of corn cereal, corn starch, corn oil and corn syrup. Hundreds of other products are also derived from corn, such as certain plastic packaging and even fabrics.

In addition, about 9% of the total corn supply (currently 1.3 billion bushels) is carried over as a surplus for the next year.

*This and subsequent figures are from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, April 2008. A metric ton is 1,000 kilograms, approximately 2,206 pounds.

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Using Technology to Feed, Fuel the Planet (download PDF)

Meeting the food and energy needs of a growing world population requires cutting-edge technology and innovation. Today, corn producers are being called upon to provide not only feed for livestock and food for humans, but also the raw material for producing renewable fuels like ethanol.

 

New technologies are allowing U.S. corn farmers to produce substantially more corn per acre of land in a sustainable way, thus helping to meet growing demand for food and fuel. From computer-equipped combines to biotechnology-derived seeds to web-based grain marketing systems, technology is revolutionizing the corn industry. From seed development to harvest sales, growers across the country are using new equipment, devices and information systems to enhance the production process, improve efficiency and increase profits.

Today’s corn seeds are produced using the latest advances in plant biotechnology and plant breeding. The best traits from one corn variety are combined with complementary traits from other varieties to produce more productive and stronger corn plants.

Last year, corn farmers produced an average of 151.1 bushels of corn per acre. Consider that 10 years ago in 1998, the average production per acre was 134.4, and 20 years ago in 1988, the average it was 84.6 bushels per acre.

Corn productivity per acre is increasing at an accelerated rate because of new advances in biotechnology and improved farming practices. Increased yield per acre allow growers to harvest considerably more corn without significantly increasing acreage. Based on past performance, average production per acre is projected to hit 173 bushels per acre by 2015. However, if productivity gains continue to increase at the rate of the last 10 years, average yield per acre could reach 178 bushels per acre by 2015. Seed technology providers have stated corn production could reach 250 to 300 bushels per acre by 2030.

Each year, the National Corn Growers Association holds a national corn yield contest that receives thousands of entries from growers all over the country – and these growers are achieving tomorrow’s yields today. The winning yield in 2007’s contest was more than 385 bushels per acre — more than double the national average.

Farmers are also embracing advanced technologies like GPS, onboard computerized yield monitors, and satellite imagery to take some of the guesswork out of the farming business and ensure the most efficient use of fertilizers and chemicals. And today’s tractors and combines use state-of-the-art propulsion systems that more efficiently use diesel fuel.

While many aspects of corn growing have not changed over the centuries, U.S. corn growers know that embracing technology is an important element to reaching the production demanded by the world’s consumers.

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Ethanol/Bio Fuels Bashing

Despite several research studies showing that ethanol production and higher corn prices have only a small effect on consumer prices, anti-ethanol forces have teamed up to sway public opinion against farmers and the fuel they produce.

“We understand that the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has embarked on a multi-million campaign through a Washington, DC public relations firm to turn public opinion against corn-based ethanol,” according to Kansas Corn Growers Association Executive Director Jere White. “Several credible studies released this year show high fuel prices have a much greater impact on food prices than higher corn prices.”

White said consumers are wondering why there has been little connection made between fuel prices and grocery prices.

“That’s where the story gets interesting. In addition to GMA, we are told the oil industry has chipped in millions to the campaign as well,” White said. “Consumers are paying higher prices at the pump and at the checkout. Then the oil companies and food companies are using that money to blame ethanol for higher food and fuel prices.” This is just NOT TRUE the reason for high food prices are HIGH energy prices.

“Corn and ethanol producers simply don’t have millions of dollars to spend on glossy PR campaigns,” White said. “What we do have are facts: several studies showing that ethanol production and higher corn prices account for just a fraction of the increase consumers are paying at the grocery store. Commodity prices account for less than 20 percent of the cost of groceries, the rest is transportation, packaging, marketing and other factors. Plus, ethanol actually reduces the cost of gas for consumers at the pump”

While food prices are higher, White points out prices for non-food items are also higher, including things farmers purchase to grow their crops like fuel and fertilizer.

“It doesn’t take much common sense to understand that the big driver in increased grocery prices is fuel prices,” White said. “Sure you’re paying more for food, but you’re also paying more for laundry soap and toilet paper. Production and transportation costs are up primarily because of increased fuel prices—especially diesel prices. The real story is $120 crude oil and the foreign regimes it supports. It is time we say enough and support America first.”