Saturday, August 18, 2012

Food or Fuel? Why Are We Even Having this Discussion?

If you decide that you are going to divert half of a major food crop to produce fuel, you shouldn't be surprised when food and fuel prices go up in a drought. (You might be surprised if your closest approach to a farm is the produce section at Whole Foods.) Drought crop damage worsens, ethanol waiver urged - Chicago Tribune.

First look at the big picture.

In the most authoritative statement yet on how the drought is affecting crops, the USDA estimated that the corn harvest would drop 13 percent from last year, a bigger fall than forecast.
People with no background in farming will say how "unanticipated" this is. They never purchased crop insurance. (And they don't remember the year that the Army Corps of Engineers closed the Mississippi River to navigation because lack of rain made the water levels too low. It was 1988. It was followed a few years later by the Great Mississippi and Missouri flood of 1993)

The difference today is that we don't just use corn to make breakfast cereal and to feed livestock. We burn a large amount of corn in our cars. Seems stupid to me, but I never worked in Washington.

Countries from Bangladesh, to China and Russia are making moves to secure their food supplies for the coming years. The UN (Doesn't our Dear Leader put a lot of stock in the Useless Nitwits?) isn't calling it a crisis yet, but are making noises in that direction. So, is it more important to feed people or gain the (questionable) advantage of ethanol in our fuel. I know the answer Arthur Daniel Midlands gives - they make more money on ethanol than they ever did before.

No comments: