Groups Applaud Affordable Food and Fuels for America Act

July 15, 2009 07:00 PM

Legislation that would gradually phase out government support for corn-based ethanol over five years and encourage the commercial development of second generation biofuels has been introduced in the House of Representatives. 

The bipartisan bill, H.R. 3187, "The Affordable Food and Fuels for America Act,” was introduced by Rep. Joseph Crowley D-N.Y. and Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif.

The American Meat Institute, joined by members of the Balanced Food and Fuel Coalition (BF&F), applauded the introduction of the legislation, stating:

 "We commend the leadership of Reps. Crowley, D-N.Y., and Bono Mack, R-Calif., for introducing legislation that is absolutely critical to both producers and consumers of food by controlling volatile commodity markets and ensuring all users of feed grains compete on a level playing field,” said the nationally-released statement (Follow this link to read full statement). ”If passed, the bill would permit badly needed adjustments in the corn-based ethanol mandates required by law. It represents an important step in weaning ethanol from its reliance on government protections to be commercially viable and compete with other commodities that rely on corn as their major input.”

Also a member of the coalition, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) issued this statement from Gary Voogt, President of NCBA and rancher from Marne, Mich.

"NCBA commends Representatives Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) for introducing critical legislation to level the playing field for corn supplies. 

"The Affordable Food and Fuel for America Act will phase out government support for corn-based ethanol over five years and encourage the commercial development of second generation biofuels. 

"After 30 years of support, corn-based ethanol is still reliant on government support to be commercially viable.  It is time to allow it to compete on a level playing field, and to stop propping up one industry at the expense of another. 

"Since January of 2008, cattle feeders have lost a record $5.2 billion in equity due to high feed costs and economic factors which have negatively affected beef demand. According to the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, in 2008, feed costs for livestock, poultry and dairy reached a record high of $45.2 billion – an increase of more than $7 billion over 2007 costs. Yet farm gate cattle and calf receipts have essentially remained flat, at between $49 and $50.2 billion during the past five years.

"Soaring feed costs and government payments to the ethanol industry are hurting small businesses and family ranches. Cattle producers don't ask for subsidies, just equal footing.

 "The legislation introduced by Representatives Crowley and Mack allows for a market-based approach to our nation's competing demands for corn, and helps us meet both our food and fuel needs.” 

The BF&F coalition is an alliance of animal agricultural groups concerned about the impact that the corn-based ethanol policy may have on the competitiveness of animal agriculture, exports, the food industry and ultimately the consumer.   The coalition supports both legislative and regulatory action that will help relieve the volatility and escalation of feed costs, which have significantly affected the cost of poultry and livestock production and ultimately negatively impacted rural jobs and the cost of raising protein for consumption.

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