Think about how you would feel paying over a quarter more per gallon when you were fueling up your car, which is approximately $3-5 more each time. Would you be more upset about that, or walking into the grocery store only to find that meat and dairy prices had skyrocketed? No matter what you were thinking, there are many people in the world who likely feel the same way that you did – either indifferent, or upset.
The growing population increases the demand for feeding and fueling the world. Certain natural resources are limited. Use of food for fuel is efficient – provides an alternative fuel. Food vs. fuel debate is a controversy. Ethanol is blended with gasonline. Without ethanol, gas would cost $0.20-$0.35 more per gallon. Biofuels, an article from the New York Times, written in June 2011 by Aaron Packard, discussed another part of debate – rise in food prices?
Biofuels have been debated for decades. Biofuels provide another market for farmers. Biofuels cause food price to rise. Biofuels take away from livestock and human food sources.
According to Packard (2011), in the 19 th Century, Henry Ford and Rudolf Diesel conducted experiments – proved engines could run on alternative fuel sources. 1970s – ethanol production was driven Clean Air Act Amendment of 1990 and Energy Policy Act of 2005 both helped The U.S. energy policy promotes use of alternative fuels Biofuels have gained a large amount of political attention because of the new markets they open for farm products. Over the years, the interest in alternative fuel sources has fluctuated. Today, it is a hot topic once again, only this time with the name of biofuels (Packard, 2011).
The sweet corn that humans consume is much different than the number two yellow field corn. Only 1% of corn produced is actually consumed directly (Illinois Corn, 2011). As technology advances, farmers continue to be able to produce higher yields than they were when the food vs. fuel debate first began.
23% of the United States corn supply is used in ethanol and the other 77% is used for livestock feed and food markets (Illinois Corn, 2011).
The Illinois Corn Growers Association does not contribute the rise in food prices to ethanol (Illinois Corn, 2011). The above chart, which is from the Illinois Corn Growers Association website, shows that 11.6 cents of every food dollar is spent on food (Illinois Corn, 2011). High price of corn is because of the demand, not because of the use of corn in biofuels. Commodities such as sugar, cotton, and soybeans have also risen in cost. Tim Lenz, the ICGA District XI Director, said, “In a box of corn flakes, there are five cents of corn, so even if you double the price of corn, that box of corn flakes should have only gone up a nickel.”
Corn is competed for against beef producers, farmers, and the gasoline industries (Kay, 2011). Ethanol is blended with gasoline because of federal regulations. The use of corn for fuel means there is less for livestock feed and human consumption (Kay, 2011). Over the past year, corn has risen in cost. This is due to the food vs. fuel debate. If prices do not decrease, retail prices and packaging prices of beef will rise and consumers will have to pay more. (Kay, 2011) Harrison believes that the use of food for fuel is the cause to the rise in food prices (Harrison, 2009).
Again, I ask, how would you feel about paying more per gallon the next time you fill up at the gas station? Would you be more upset about that, or walking into the grocery store only to find that meat and dairy prices had skyrocketed? The food vs. fuel debate continues to be a current hot topic in agriculture. Grain farmers are in favor of using the corn they produce for fuel because it provides another market to sell in. Livestock producers are not as in favor of using corn for fuel because it takes away from the available amount for their livestock and also causes the price of corn to rise. No matter which side of the fence a person is on, biofuels will continue to be a part of our fuel system; however, if food sources are going to be used for food, fuel or both, is up for debate.
Cars vs. Corn (The Food vs. Fuel Debate)
By: Lydia Wendte
Using Food for Fuel: A Debate <ul><li>Main concern: corn </li></ul><ul><li>Use of corn for ethanol has contributed to rising food prices </li></ul>
Biofuels . . . <ul><li>have been debated for decades. </li></ul><ul><li>provide another market for farmers. </li></ul><ul><li>cause food prices to rise. </li></ul><ul><li>take away from livestock and human food sources. </li></ul>
<ul><li>19 th Century Experiments </li></ul><ul><li>1970s drive </li></ul><ul><li>Political attention </li></ul><ul><li>Interest has fluctuated </li></ul>
<ul><li>“ The perception that we are taking food from the mouths of the hungry . . . is a myth.” </li></ul><ul><li>- Illinois Corn (2011) </li></ul>Stakeholder Viewpoint http://www.ilcorn.org/ethanol/6-food-and-fuel/
Stakeholder Viewpoint Information from Illinois Corn (2011)