Don’t blame farmers, ethanol industry for soaring cost of food

In response to the letter on April 10, I have to strongly disagree with Mr. Henely and his feelings about the ethanol industry.

There are a number of reasons why food prices have risen. Consumers need to understand that the cost of food ingredients in products they buy represents less than one-fifth of the price at checkout. Only 19 cents on every dollar spent goes back to the farm. Talk to livestock producers in our county and ask them if they are being paid more for their animals since food prices have increased. They will tell you no.

Actually, farm gate prices for hogs and cattle are below the 10-year average. The increase in the price of dairy and meat products in the grocery store is not happening on the farm where they feed corn. Other factors, especially ones that are energy-related and therefore often petroleum-dependent, have greater impact.

In fact, the price of energy has three to four times the impact on food prices than the farm products used in the process.

As for ethics, I would rather buy clean-burning, locally produced ethanol made from home grown corn (and very soon from other raw materials) by people working in our local communities, and see my dollars returned to the local economy, than to see it going to an industry that needs our young men and women in the military to protect its supply.


Michael F. Merten


Mower County Corn & Soybean Growers Association

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