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Good Morning John,
Regarding ethanol, why does it receive the government support that it does? As I understand, it takes 1.5 times the ethanol to equal 1 gallon of gasoline. Where is the fuel economy? In addition, if you add in the energy to grow and harvest the corn, the fuel and emmissions from tractors and trucks to harvest and transport. Where is the energy savings? Ethanol is also very corrosive to metals and dissolves plastics. In addition, when you look at the need as corn as food, from hogs and chicken to corn bread, and the rising cost of groceries, how is it benefiting the overall population the put corn in to ethanol?
You are correct in all your points. This is a very big net loss boondoggle. The other thing is, there is a 53 tariff on all imported ethanol at the consumer taxpayer's expense. Livestock operation feeds costs 10 years ago in a well run Dairy were about 33 % of gross milk proceeds, that feed cost is now about 70% of gross milk proceeds. All other overhead cost have skyrocketed as well. This is in part because the price of milk has not risen on average as much as all business cost & feed costs We have to buy those same higher priced groceries as well. Milk needs to average 20.00 per hundred wt to provide the same net as 11.00 milk did 10 years ago. So let's not favor any industry with huge subsidies & create these boondogles. & no, in the long run I do not favor any programs that manipulates supplies or prices paid for by government funds.
Why you ask? Well, no small factor is the fact that the first Presidential caucus is in Iowa every four years.
Several components are missing to your assessment of the complex ethanol picture. #1 Big oil gets 3x the subsidy that ethanol needs to get going! #2Ethanol saves about @$2 a gallon for us all at the pump. #3 We need the jobs and the unreliance on foreign oil that ethanol provides. #4 Sexed semen and overproduction due to greed are at the bottom of the dairy doldrums. You cannot ask one segment of ag to work below the cost of production growing corn so that dairyman can make the big profits of the last two decades. Dairymen must learn to manage supply as opposed to asking for cheap feed inputs. If it weren't for ethanol I nor my son would be able to farm period end. #5No one in the debate ever mentions DDG and it superior feed qualities (65% more bioavailable than regular corn). #6 New hybrids and improved technology are giving ethanol a huge energy gain. #7 Ethanol helps gas burn more efficiently and without the use of toxic octane boosters. Yes, ethanol is helping the family farm survuve and has allowed me to give my chemistry teaching to another person who needs the job!! I had to teach 14 years to subsidize the production of 3$ corn.