The ethanol industry reacted sharply to Elam’s report.” While farmers across the country are dealing with a severe drought, the livestock lobby is spreading misinformation and taking advantage of this crisis by playing on people’s fears during a time of economic turmoil,” according to Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “This is nothing more than an orchestrated attempt to place blame on American ethanol producers for rising food prices.”

According to Garry Niemeyer, president of the National Corn Growers Association, “When it comes to the Renewable fuel standard for ethanol and other biofuels, now is not the time for changes. It’s working. The RFS is revitalizing rural America, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and reducing the cost of gasoline. Making changes to the RFS now would only ensure that consumers suffer due to significantly higher fuel prices.”

Drought causes need for reform

With the potential of a devastating drought, and noting that last year was the first year ever that ethanol production used more corn than livestock and poultry production, Goodlatte called on EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to reduce the RFS mandate for this year.

“As we confront the reality of tightening corn supplies, there are real concerns about having enough corn supplies to satisfy the needs of the RFS and the needs of our food producers, We should not be in a position where we are choosing between fuel and food,” he says.

Elam agrees. He has heard early yield estimates as low as 114 bu./acre  from people scouting drought-devastated corn fields. “That’s an unmitigated disaster if it happens,” he says. “We would have to make some very, very, very difficult choices about how we’re going to use these crops.”

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