Biofuels

September 9, 2010

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the Renewable Fuels Association, Wal-Mart Stores, Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

I believe in and support the agriculture industry from the farms and ranches to the nation’s dinner tables. Rural America is where common sense prevails. I am convinced that this industry must work together for the good of all. I understand the competition for acres and production, whether it be between corn or soybeans or cotton or between pork or beef or chickens.

However, we are all in this together and there is nothing to be gained by nationalizing our family fights. That is what happened in 2008 when commodity prices spiked and food prices jumped up. Those affected, including food processors and livestock producers, were quick to blame biofuels.

Last month, the World Bank set the records straight. They did a complete about-face from their report on 2008 when the World Bank blamed biofuels for the spike in commodities. Their new study reveals that most of the increase experienced in 2008 can be traced to energy prices and speculation.

Biofuels could not have been responsible for the price spike for the simple reason that land used for biofuels does not represent a large percentage of worldwide grain and oilseed acres. “Globally biofuels account for only about 1.5% of the land acres planted to grains and oilseeds.” If, of all the millions of acres planted to grains and oilseeds in the world, only 1.5% of those acres are used for biofuels, that is negligible. I rest my case.

It is time to move on, put the “food versus fuel” issue behind us, and continue to reduce our reliance on oil from other countries. We are spending 300 billion dollars per year to pay other countries for oil. It is far better to reduce that transfer of our dollars and produce more energy right here at home. We can use the jobs.

Renewable Fuels President Bob Dinneen has it about right; he said, “The World Bank report should silence critics in the food processing industry, the livestock industry, on Capitol Hill and anywhere else that sought to portray ethanol as the boogeyman.”

It’s time for the ag industry to unite together, stand up to our critics, and serve our nation in any way we can.

In closing, I would encourage you to access my website which archives my radio commentaries dating back 10 years and will go back 20 years when complete. Check on what I said back then. Go to http://www.johnblockreports.com .

Until next week, I am John Block in Washington.