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The war of words between livestock and poultry groups and corn and ethanol supporters is heating up again.
Adding fuel to the fire is a new study sponsored by a coalition of livestock and poultry organizations. The study found that federal ethanol policy has increased and destabilized corn, soybean and wheat prices to the detriment of food and fuel producers and consumers.
In response to that study, the coalition is calling on Congress to revise the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) to allow automatic adjustments in the ethanol mandate based on the corn stocks-to-use ratio.
Supporters of corn and ethanol were quick to respond. The National Corn Growers Association says the market is working and that corn users are responding to market signals—which drew this response from Michael Formica of the National Pork Producers Council.
“It’s funny that they say the market will take care of itself—that it always does—because they’re the ones who are sitting there with an absolute federal mandate that requires the use of corn to be turned into gasoline,” says Formica, “and we say, ‘yes, the market takes care of itself—we don’t need the mandate’.”
Formica stressed that the RFS revisions that are being sought are not permanent adjustments.
“There’s been some mischaracterization of this by the ethanol industry that this is a ‘permanent’ attack on ethanol,” Formica says. “What we’re talking about is really a one-growing season adjustment—year-to-year adjustments—based on the availability of grain and the total supply of grain.”
But the American Coalition for Ethanol accused the livestock and poultry coalition of “shamelessly exploiting the drought as an excuse to roll back the RFS.”