Corn ethanol rates up 37% with worldwide food prices and starvation leaves at record highs –

Posted on April 7, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Food or fuel – Update

Decision 2008 – Is it our “decision” to kill potentially 100 million through lack of food meal and animal feed in 2008? 

The US ethanol plant fleet has produced 1.9 billion gallons of ethanol through the first quarter of 2008 (up 37% from 2007) 

Latest USDA report indicates approximately 79 million harvested acres in first qt of 08. If the average trend yield of 155.5 bushels per acre is realized, corn producers would be on track to produce approximately 12.3 billion bushels in 2008 – the second-highest production ever, according to the RFA.

Most look at a scenario in the year 2015 where the American farmer will NEED to produce over 5 billion bushels of corn,  just to make 15 billion gallons of ethanol as mandated by the Renewable Fuel Standard in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). (source)

Similar mandates across the developed world will see that at least 10 per cent of the world’s grain is mandated for ethanol production.

It takes 450 pounds of corn ethanol to fill a 25-gallon gas tank or the SAME about of corn supplies enough calories to feed a person for one year. The USDA projects that in 2008 the ethanol industry will consume 2.6 billion bushels of corn. A bushel weighs 56 pounds, so a quick calculation yields the result that 2.6 billion bushels of corn could supply enough calories to feed nearly 325 million people for a year. Of that a third are projected to die of starvation….

As one bushel of corn one bushel converts to about 5.6 pounds of retail beef, 13 pounds of retail pork, 28 pounds of catfish, or 32 pounds of chicken as (source) one-third of the world’s grain is fed to animals to produce meat.

There is NOT a current option for cellulosic ethanol so the price of corn will increase 41 percent, wheat, 30 percent, cassava, 135 percent, and sugar cane, 66 percent. As there is NOT a current option for cellulosic ethanol the price of corn will increase 41 percent, wheat, 30 percent, cassava, 135 percent, and sugar cane, 66 percent. This calculates to 600 million additional hungry people by 2025, rising to a total of 1.2 billion (source).

For the billions of people who spend a large percentage of their income on food, mostly the urban poor in developing countries, this is/will be a disaster. Starvation and misery, civil unrest, wars spilling across borders and environmental degradation as marginal land is forced into food production will result from this increase in grain prices.

In summary, the potential disaster of food shortages for the world’s poorest far outweigh the marginal benefits of converting food to offset 1-3% of the fuel markets.

As we have warned of this for nearly a decade, I pray our new presidential candidates have better options

But then, the world’s poor do not participate in caucuses.


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