Nebraska Cattlemen Group Approves Ethanol Policy Resolution

December 22, 2008 06:00 PM

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

A spirited look at controversial topic

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

The Nebraska Cattlemen (NC) was one of the first groups to wade into the ethanol/feed situation, so their current stance on the topic caught my eye after the group released its position "after considerable discussion."

The following is the group's current position:

“Ethanol Markets and Mandates. The most noted resolution discussed by Tax Committee attendees was ethanol and government mandates. The discussion was aided by opinions on both sides of the issue. Past Presidents Dave Burkholder of Cozad and Jay Wolf of Albion defended the belief that government mandates and subsidies have put beef producers at a competitive disadvantage in purchasing corn. Ethanol interests at the Tax Committee meeting were brought forward by Duane Kristensen, NC cow-calf member and long time plant manager of the Chief ethanol plant located in Hastings. Also adding to the spirited and well informed debate were NC cow/calf member and Nebraska Ethanol Board chairman Jim Jenkins of Callaway, NC Associate members Todd Sneller and Don Hutchens. Sneller is the administrator the Nebraska Ethanol Board. Hutchens is the Executive Director of the Nebraska Corn Board. After much debate, a new resolution was approved by the attendees. Debate continued after the committee activities concluded and a new resolution was brought forward at the annual business meeting in the true air of understanding and compromise.

NC modified its position on ethanol, noting the following three points:

“First, NC supports the domestic ethanol industry based on its importance to our nation’s security, energy policy, agricultural industries, and rural communities.

“Second, NC believes competitive markets are the most efficient way to allocate resources between the livestock industry, ethanol industry, export markets and other corn users.

“Third, the current import tariffs and blenders credit, which helped develop the ethanol industry and serve to protect it from unfair foreign competition, are scheduled to sunset in December 2009 and December 2010, respectively. Therefore, NC seeks transition of the ethanol blenders credit and import tariffs to a counter-cyclical payment system that will serve as a safety net in times of severe economic challenges to the ethanol industry. In addition, NC is opposed to any additional increases to existing federal or state mandates for ethanol usage. Further, NC opposes government incentives including subsidies for cellulosic ethanol production from corn ethanol co-products.”

Comments: The NC group was the "first" to wade into the ethanol battle with an official stance as a livestock organization representing producers. Their latest stance still shows that despite a downturn in corn prices and woes in the ethanol production sector, this remains a hot-button and emotional issue with livestock producers.

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


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