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A spirited look at controversial topic
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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
NC modified its position on ethanol, noting the following
“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.
This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or
retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.