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Livestock farmers still seeking pause in ethanol production

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Livestock farmers and ranchers seeing their feed costs rise because of the worst drought in a quarter-century are demanding that the Environmental Protection Agency waive production requirements for corn-based ethanol.

The Obama administration sees no need for a waiver, siding with corn growers — many of them in presidential election battleground states Iowa and Ohio — who continue to support the mandate.

"If not now, when?" Randy Spronk, a Minnesota pork farmer, said of the EPA's authority to defer the ethanol production requirement when it threatens to severely harm the economy of a state or region. "Everyone should feel the pain of rationing."

Spronk, who is president-elect of the National Pork Producers Council, said livestock producers will have to reduce their herds and flocks because feed is becoming scarce and too expensive. Cattlemen and chicken farmers have the same concern.

"We do support the American ethanol industry," said Kristina Butts, executive director of legislative affairs at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. "All we are asking for is that competition for that bushel of corn be on a level playing field."

The government, she said, "is picking the ethanol industry to be the winner to get that bushel of corn."

The Renewable Fuel Standard, enacted in 2005 and then significantly expanded in 2007, requires that 13.2 billion gallons of corn starch-derived biofuel be produced in 2012. The intent was to reduce both greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change and dependence on foreign oil.

One consequence is that 40 percent of the nation's corn crop now goes to ethanol producers, compared with 36 percent for feed. The rest is divided between processed food and exports. Critics say ethanol also is a big factor in the price of a bushel of corn going from an average $2.15 a bushel in the 1997-2006 period to more than $8 today.

With half the nation's corn crop now in poor condition, "relief from the Renewable Fuel Standard is extremely urgent because another short corn crop would be devastating to the animal agriculture industry, food manufacturers, food service providers, as well as consumers," 156 House members wrote EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in urging her to issue a waiver. Twenty-five senators, about evenly divided between the two parties, wrote a similar letter to Jackson this week.

The House letter was signed mainly by Republicans, who are outspoken in their opposition to EPA regulations. But as with the Senate, the majority of signees were from the South, where the poultry industry is strong, with others coming from Western cattle states and Northern dairy states. Midwestern corn states like Iowa and Ohio were largely unrepresented.

It's more complicated for people like Kevin Ross, who raises corn and soybeans in southwest Iowa and heads the Iowa Corn Growers Association. Losing the ethanol market, he said, would definitely hurt his business. Having another major market for corn, he said, "has had an effect on the rural economy that's not been seen in decades. ... I really hope we don't make any rash decisions about it."

Ross and others pointed to a study by Iowa State economist Bruce Babcock concluding that because of the flexibility built into the current mandate system, removing the ethanol requirement would only decrease corn prices by about 28 cents a bushel, or 4.6 percent.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Babcock cautioned that at this point no one knows what the final corn yield will be. But if it drops dramatically from current projections, his estimate for the impact of suspending the mandate would go up. "The worse the corn crop, the bigger will be the effect on corn prices."

The ethanol industry, backed by the Obama administration, says it's unfair to blame it for turmoil in the corn market. Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, which represents producers and supporters of ethanol, said at a recent news conference that he'd "never heard a bigger whopper" than the argument that fuel demands were hurting food supplies.

The ethanol industry argues that the Agriculture Department's estimate that ethanol consumes a 40-percent share of the corn market is misleading because about a third of the ethanol corn is refined into a high-value animal feed called dried distiller grain. Buis said ethanol's actual share of the corn crop as a fuel is closer to 16 percent.

Renewable Fuels Association CEP Bob Dinneen also pointed out that there is flexibility built into the system. For example, ethanol produced one year but not used can be carried over to the next year. He said ethanol production has always been above what was required and that this year, with supplies down and prices up, producers are already slowing production.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack echoed that at a White House briefing last month, saying: "There's no need to go to the EPA at this point in time. Based on the quantity of ethanol that's currently in storage, there's no problem in that area at this point in time."

He also pointed out that despite the drought, the corn crop could still be one of the larger ones in history because farmers, enticed by high prices, planted so many acres this spring.

The EPA also turned down a request by Texas Gov. Rick Perry in 2008 to waive the mandate because of drought in his state.

C. Larry Pope, president and CEO of Smithfield Foods Inc., the world's largest pork producer, said in a July 26 Wall Street Journal opinion piece that Congress should pass a House proposal that would tie the Renewable Fuel Standard percentage to free-market supply and demand. He said that with the ethanol mandate and the high price of corn, "Smithfield was forced to take the unfortunate but absolutely necessary step of buying corn from Brazil."

That brought a quick retort from Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who went to the Senate floor to compare Pope to Henny Penny, the character from the children's story "Chicken Little" who warned everyone that the sky was falling.

"Why did farmers plant 96 million acres of corn this year? Why have seed producers spent millions to develop better yielding and drought-resistant traits?" Grassley asked. "The answer is simple: ethanol."

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  • Ethanol is not the blame for feed costs increasing
    I'm a little troubled to read that once again ethanol plants are being blamed for the increase in costs for livestock owners. Ethanol plants are large users of corn, I do agree with that, but out of every 3 bushels of corn, 1 is turned into ethanol, 1 into CO2 (for greenhouses, pop, cryo-freezing of vegies, etc..), and 1 is turned into DDGs. DDGs is an excellent animal feed, and as such, there is lots of it available for animal feed. I realize that the rations have to be adjusted, and that is a little bit of a pain. It will be interesting to see what will happen to teh price of corn as some ethanol plants are closing (http://biofuelschat.com/topics/hopewell-seeks-auction-ethanol-plant, http://biofuelschat.com/topics/valero-idles-nebraska-indiana-ethanol-mills-poor-margins). Valero is a big producer, and they buy a large amount of corn, so we'll see if this proves to drop the price down or not. The quality of DDGs as livestock feed has been studied for years, and in the right rations it is a perfect feed, lots of fibre, energy (oil), and protein which is all good for a large amount of animals (http://biofuelschat.com/topics/ethanol-waiver-lessen-ddgs-supplies-market). I know that the economy is suffering, but I don't believe that blaming livestock producer costs on the ethanol industry is correct. -jeepzj
  • food wars
    ethanol is use in power plants too it mite even be worst than cars
  • Just asking
    why does the gov keep paying people not to farm their ground and keep it in wild grasses that are useless to both ethenol producting or food. More market control?
  • Subsidy
    EWG Farm Subsidy Database. It's all there.
  • meat
    Or just eat grass-fed.
  • knowledge is a valuable thing,
    complaining about the amount of negative net gain in energy to produce ethanol, look at the backwards math behind meat production. It takes tremendous amounts of resources to produce meat, its a negative net gain in resources (water, land, crops), emissions, and calorie math. Did you know it takes ~17lbs of corn/soy/grain to produce 1 lbs of beef. Feed too expensive, RAISE THE PRICE so meat eaters pay fully for their product.
    • UN AGENDA 21
      Because of the UN AGENDA 21/Environmental Cult, the Cows cannot graze on their Grazing Allotments anymore. Per Maurice Strong, Dave Foreman, Dr.Reed Noss & other Deep Ecologists, we need to rid the earth of Cows because of Gas & we need more large Carnivores roaming around the "Wildland Newtorks" Search Engine: AGENDA 21 MAP
    • Why so much corn?
      If you'd follow the practices of sustainable farming, you'd see that while hogs, chickens and some other animals do benefit from corn and grains, cows do not need any corn whatsoever. It's a myth that healthier cows are being produced when placed in CAFO's. Check out Joel Salatin and Greg Judy. They've made quite a bit of money with less effort and much more gain than most modern procedure cattle farmers.
      • UN AGENDA 21
        You have a United Nations Agenda 21 a.k.a., Sustainable Development President that will NEVER turn his back on The AGENDA 21 MAP fulfillment. All the enticing Entitlements he lavish will not mean anything when there Hyperinflation, Economic Collapse, Infrastructure Collapse. This is what he's working for: Cloward-Piven Strategy, UN AGENDA 21, Globalist Elite Oligarch. They will be safe in their Underground Luxury Bunkers while there's a Second Civil War & World War on the surface.
      • what?
        If your going to comment please have some facts to share.It is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
      • common sense
        It takes two gallon of gasoline to produce 1 gallon of ethanol. So its good for the earth? the reason for the arab spring is the people were starving because food became so expensive because of ethanol. Good for the earth? liberalism is a lie.
        • alcohol taken out of the corn?
          Kent, are you insane? first off there is no "ethanol in corn".. the starches are fermented into ethanol, all that is left is cellulose, and these waste products are virtually useless.
          • Free Market Ethanol
            If ethanol is worth having, why not let consumers decide whether to buy gasoline with or without ethanol? My older vehicle have required thousands of dollars of repairs using ethanol fuel. I get worse gas mileage and pay more per gallon. Where is the logic here where we should have a FREE MARKET system?
            • corn
              You get corn from an ethanol plant?
            • Agree
              Totally Agree with Glenn M!
            • STOP USING FOOD FOR FUEL
              I think my headline says it all WHY ON God's earth are we using FOOD for FUEL. Its Environmentalism gone AMUK! So sick of it, the EPA and Obama
            • You're correct
              The corn by-product from ethanol production is inferior feed for cattle period. As that feed becomes more scarce, we'll see the cattlemen cull their herds and then a huge spike in the price of meat, pork and chicken plus all food products that use corn as an ingredient. Ethanol from corn is and has always been a boobdoggle taking more energy to create than it produces. As long as corn is tied to profit and politians, no alternative will be investigated. Its bad for engines and its bad for people. Prices of all food increased dramatically when production of ethanol from corn began. Its only been a boon for the politicians of the corn belt and beyond (ever wonder why Iowa is so important to campaigns?) - they love it. Its time for Iowa to come last in the National Primary sweepstakes. Yes, the land could grow soybeans or yield many other food crop. Once again we see greed and profit over whats best for us all.
              • Is that a crime?
                "40 percent of the nation's corn crop now goes to ethanol producers," This strikes me as a crime against humanity. But who cares,,,we got ours.
              • nate
                It goes to the ethanol plants and then goes to the feedlots for cattle feed. What, do you people think it goes to the landfill or something????
              • subsidizes gone
                Ethanol subsidizes were eleminated in 2011! Again, not a lot of bright and informed people posting here.
              • U missed the Point
                Dennis - Nobody is saying that the lack of corn because of ethanol plants. The point is that the PRICE of corn is higher because of the limited supply and if part of the limied supply did not have to go to ethanol (a ridiculous waste) then the price would be lower for those who actually need the corn.
                • Yes, it's food
                  Field corn isn't of course the same as Jolly Green Giant Niblets - that's sweet corn. But, yes it is human food, both directly and indirectly. Indirectly, it's animal feed to product meat - the point of this story. Directly, corn-derived products are present in many foodstuffs.
                • Ethanol price vs gas
                  Ethanol is cheaper only because it's subsidized by lower road taxes.
                • Ethanol destroys
                  The problem with ethanol is that it destroys metals- requiring still more hardening of engine parts and offshored industrial pollution. Of course we don't seem to care if we pollute asia but maybe in this case we should. Once you run ethanol in non-ethanol prepared engines, the metals turn to gunk and waste away. Look inside of an engine that has burned ethanol-based gasolines someday. You'll be shocked at what it is doing to the metals.
                • Ethanol=Bad idea
                  I truly appreciate what you do for our country! The production of ethanol for a fuel additive is one of the worst things this country has ever done! Why?:1. It takes more energy to produce ethanol than you get out of it..net loss. The use of a food product for energy is VERY negative use of resources. Ethanol has been proven to negatively affect most internal combustion engines.
                  • corn for food yes/corn for burning no
                    Well, it took a drought to bring common sense to this country. We were burning our food. Did anyone think about that before we went all crazy like to turn CORN (a basic food), into fuel?
                  • Incomprensible
                    Only environmental wackos believe we should use corn for fuel while millions of people will go hungry because of that. It's a big task to feed 6 billion people on Earth. Every acre of agricultural land should be used for food production.
                  • Dennis
                    I grow corn and I raise cattle, so do a lot of my friends. There is an ethanol plant nearby that we depend on to get the corn after they process it to feed to our cattle. The lack of corn is due to the drought and mother nature, not ethanol plants.
                    • subsidies
                      No, you're right. Its cattle feed. No connection whatsoever. Cattle farmers need to learn to take one on the chin for the good of mankind, like the rest of us. I thought converting acreage from food to fuel was a good thing.
                      • Clearly...
                        Of course it's not food grade corn that's used in ethanol production. However, it does use land that could be used for food production, or, at least, production for a better alternative fuel source and industrial crop; hemp. If not for government subsidies, corn ethanol would not exist on the scale it does.
                        • Chicken Feed...
                          We have seen our prices on chicken/turkey feed skyrocket here recently. I told our feed store to expect it 2 months ago as I've been following this for some time. Why we're burning our food for fuel is beyond me. One thing I take issue with in this story is the woman representing big ag cattle operations. First of all, cattle were never intended to eat corn. Evidence of this is the increased production of e-coli bacteria in the rumen as compared to grass-fed beef. Stop feeding corn to cattle.
                          • Russ
                            I have been burning 10% ethanol for 30 years. It is usually prices less and the 85% grade is much less to compensate for lower fuel mileage.
                            • Ethanol corn is not your food
                              It is unbelievable how many uneducated people post here. Corn used for ethanol is NOT, I repeat NOT your food.
                              • Nascar
                                Kent said "If ethanol were "stupid fuel" why would Nascar use it? Each team has millions and millions of dollars at stake you really think they would use something that was bad for their engines? Really!!!!" Ethanol is crap fuel. NASCAR must be being ordered to use it. It makes less power and less mpg. You think NASCAR is going to use that swill because it's good? I hope you are ruining - er, running your own car on E85 so you can pay 10% less per gallon and get 30% less MPG, like a good short-sighted liberal.
                                • inefficiency
                                  Yes - and a car which gets 30mpg on regular gasoline will get 21 mpg on E85. Stupidity, stupidity, stupidity. WHY???
                                • predictable stupidity
                                  I predicted this exact same thing weeks ago - if we had a shortage of corn, the only thing to not be affected would be the squandering of FOOD to turn it into unnecessary but politically-correct ethanol. I knew it would happen.
                                  • frankly speakin
                                    Absolutly correct. We did a study at Mobil R&D back in the 1980's and found it takes more fossile fuel to create the ethanol than you save by burning it. I know I saw the study first hand. We had to stop lobying because it no longer was POLITICLY expedient to continue to fight it. There are some Companies that make a fortune out of ETOH and they call the tune in DC.
                                  • @Kent
                                    I heard from Glenn Beck that Nascar has been mandated to use Ethanol, Dude. Ethanol has 2/3rds the BTU's per gallon. That means it takes 1.5 gallons of Ethanol to have the same power as 1 gallon of Gasoline. See this: http://zfacts.com/p/436.html
                                    • Free America
                                      It doesn't make a bit of since to burn our food!
                                    • Nascar does what DC says
                                      They did it because DC told them to. GM is run by DC and GM rules NASCAR.
                                    • Just say no
                                      End this insanity permanently. EWG Farm Subsidy Database. See them all.
                                    • "whole" truth about ethanol
                                      @ Jeff: Your comment is correct but it's implication--that ethanol production is more efficient/lest "costly" than oil--is entirely incorrect. Production of (1) gallon of ethanol requires 3-5 gallons of water. In comparison, (1) gallon of gasoline requires only 2-2.5. These numbers are further exaggerated by the decreased fuel efficiency of ethanol. That is to say, if one looked at the entire production timeline and asked what would be needed to produce enough fuel (gasoline versus ethanol) for the same vehicle to travel 100 miles, a great deal more water would be required to power the ethanol vehicle.
                                      • big government
                                        Do you really think this Gov. of greenie wienies, lead by Obama will really be smart enought to put food before gasoline production? NOPE, ARCHER Daniels ownes the white house. they will let us starve first.
                                      • Stupid Fuel
                                        If ethanol were "stupid fuel" why would Nascar use it? Each team has millions and millions of dollars at stake you really think they would use something that was bad for their engines? Really!!!!
                                        • Proved
                                          Your story proves government causes inflation. Along with a 2004 corn bushel at, $2.15, what else is true? The RFS did not exist. Upon enactment, thereof, we stand at $8. Palos Park, IL
                                        • Stop Obama's Big Government
                                          Obama's bloated, expensive and intrusive Big Government is destroying America - and it must be stopped! Step one is to kick Obama and as all of his Democrats and Liberals out of government leadership positions this November and beyond. Step two is to demand that newly elected government officials massively reduce the size, expense (taxes & debt) and intrusiveness of all US governmental bodies.
                                        • truth about ethanol
                                          It takes less oil to produce a gallon of Ethanol than it does a gallon of regular gasoline. The "food" in corn is not lost durring the production of ethanol...the protien is seporated out and mixed with feed stock. Very little from corn prices goes into the the price of food...it is the fuel prices (transporting food) that are consistantly raising your food prices...fuel price that would be significantly higher if not for ethanol. Ethanol subsidies??? Not having to pay AS MUCH in taxes in not a subsidy... but I dare you demand that these same credits are removed from the oil companies too!!!!
                                          • misinfo
                                            Over 30% of the corn that is used for ethanol goes back into the market as ddgs. A high protein high fat animal feed, that has 150% the feed value of corn. And your statements about it takes more energy to make ethanol than you get from the ethanol might of been true in 1975, it is not now.
                                          • Steck
                                            Alcohol has no feed value to livestock, in fact, the byproduct is much better feed than whole corn coming out of the field because it is easier to eat and digest than whole corn. But of course you would know this if your were not just a city boy that has never been around livestock!
                                          • Perpetual motion?
                                            Zantos, it is not a matter of where the fuel is used. There is no such thing as a fuel that yields more energy than it takes to create! That's basic physics! So, no, it is absolutely TRUE that "it takes more energy to produce fuel ethanol than it produces."
                                          • Ethanol is stupid fuel
                                            Lets pretend for the moment that ethanol doesn't destroy a lot of food, thereby driving the costs of food up for everyone (it's not true, I know, but let's pretend anyway). Ethanol in your gas is still class 1 grade "a" stupid. It takes the equivalent of 9/10 of a gallon of gas to produce 1 gallon of ethanol that only carries 60% as much energy. That's right. Ethanol is a net energy loss. Putting ethanol in your gas means you will get fewer miles per gallon. Not to mention that adding ethanol makes gas go bad quickly. If you buy e85 from a gas station that doesn't get much business, you probably just bought bad gas. It's been known to go bad in shipping, for Pete's sake! It damages the engines that run it, most notably small engines such as lawn mowers, quads, and snowmobiles, just to name a few, but it also damages the engines of cars. We're paying more for food, having our property damaged, and going less distance on a tank of gas in the name of reducing the emitions of a gas that we all exhale with every breath.
                                            • Lots of hyperventilation about 5%
                                              Ahem. "Ross and others pointed to a study by Iowa State economist Bruce Babcock concluding that because of the flexibility built into the current mandate system, removing the ethanol requirement would only decrease corn prices by about 28 cents a bushel, or 4.6 percent."
                                            • Proved
                                              Your story proves government causes inflation. With a 2004 corn bushel at, $2.15, what else was true? The RFS did not exist. Upon enactment, thereof, we stand at, $8. Palos Park, IL
                                            • Proof
                                              Your story proves my argument that government causes inflation. Along with a 2004 corn bushel at, $2.15, what else was true? The RFS did not exist! Upon enactment, thereof, we stand at, $8. Mr. Saul J. Petkus Palos Park, IL 708-448-1801
                                              • Kent Drivel
                                                Once again, a poster that that has the ability to change the laws of thermodynamics. OK, follow me here. You state that the ethanol is extracted from the corn and the rest is used for feed and there is no net loss in food supply to the animals. So, you can make energy out of nothing, huh. You are sitting on a gold mine with that theory. Extracting the alcohol from the corn is a net loss in energy in the feedstock. Put on your thinking cap Mister Drivel
                                                • Don't let science get in the way
                                                  To tell the truth: Ethanol is the weakest fuel source we have for burning in an internal combustion engine. Compare the heating values of the fuels: Ethanol - 76,000 BTU/gal Kerosene - 135,000 BTU/gal Diesel - 138,500 BTU/gal Bio diesel - 120,000 BTU/gal Gasoline - 125,000 BTU/gal Now unless you want to re-write the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, I believe you should retract your statement
                                                • Brilliant ripost!
                                                  You've summed it up perfectly. And now an American farmer has to buy corn from Brazil!? Regime change, please.
                                                • FALSE Update
                                                  Link correction: www.alcoholcanbeagas.com
                                                • False
                                                  it is utterly false that it takes more energy to produce fuel ethanol than it produces, IF ethanol fuel powers the farm and delivery equipment. Diesel engines run extremely well, if not more efficiently on ethanol than diesel (www.ethanolcanbeagas.com).
                                                  • Burn baby burn
                                                    Hey, i have a great idea. Let's burn our food. What could go wrong??
                                                  • Uninformed
                                                    This forum is awash with uninformed people. Corn used for ethanol is not taken away from the livestock feeders. The alcohol is taken out of the corn and then nearly 100% of the corn is trucked back to the feeders to be fed to their cattle or hogs or what ever. There is no loss of feed to this nation. Don't post drivel if you are ignorant of how the process works.
                                                    • more cronyism
                                                      Nafta,Cafta,Ethanol mandates.. all blatent gifts to con agra and ADM.
                                                    • Is it true?
                                                      Is it true that it takes as much energy to produce ethanol as the amount of energy it delivers?
                                                      • Another Stupid Government Idea
                                                        The stupidity of this all is unbelievable. Burn something that you can eat or feed to animals, leave what you can burn with a higher btu output in the ground (oil and coal), and subsidize it by stealing my tax dollars and giving them to farmers and ethanol producers, so that we can get less gas mileage.
                                                        • Insanity
                                                          It's is beyond insane to use an actual food as something to put in a gas tank. Ethanol isn't even good for a petroleum engine. Never mind that this govt would like to see people starve. Wake up folks
                                                        • hoaxanol
                                                          Ethanol is a hoax played on us by devout followers of the Global Warming Religion.
                                                        • ethanol gores idea
                                                          This whole ethanol mess was al gores first flash of brillance, then he moved to global warming. He got rich off both scare tactics and the tax payers got screwed. And he doesnt even have a science degree!
                                                        • eat grass fed beef
                                                          I only buy grass fed beef and grass fed buffalo. Sure its not as tasty as grain fed beef, but its leaner, which has made me leaner and healthier. Plus it is less expensive due to the cows just eating grass. Maybe America should stop worrying about grain fed beef and demand that their beef and pork come from grass fed animals.
                                                        • Ethanol disruptive
                                                          We had planned to build an ethanol plant, but abandoned the idea when projections showed no profit without taxpayer subsidies. Ethanol has totally disrupted the valuable food production system we had in this nation, and elsewhere. In addition, ethanol cuts gas mileage at a time our government is making it mandatory for auto manufacturers to increase gas mileage. It never did make sense, and makes less sense now.
                                                        • food
                                                          Human basic needs first: air, water, food, clothing, shelter. They have to think about stopping ethanol production???
                                                        • Please Provide Proof
                                                          What makes you think anyone involved in making a second rate fuel out of food at any time based upon cost effectiveness of said product alone and demanding it during a major drought could be considered to be "intelligent people"? They are IDIOTS! The EPA is full of zealots. It needs to be de-authorized just Obama did with the work requirement for welfare. Shut down the EPA and bulldoze the site. Then throw out all the graft grabbing enablers in DC who are the root cause of the destruction of this Republic. Nuff Said.
                                                        • Make it permanent
                                                          I started burning non ethanol gas in my pickup after I discovered my mileage increased by nearly 3 miles per gallon when pulling our travel trailer. Ethanol in gas is just a farm subsidy. You have to burn fuel to transport it since you can't send it though a pipeline. It's a ripoff.
                                                        • Boo Hoo Jim
                                                          Jim, you forgot to include Republican businessmen in your post. Yep, all evil Republicans, not any Democrats in the bunch. What other inane stereotypes do you have? Any views on blacks? Jews? Religious people? Please tell us. We'll know you're only referring to the Republicans amongst them because the Democrats can do no wrong. Don't worry, I'm not picking on you. There are plenty of fools on the right that just substitute R for D and they sound just like you. We the people deserve our plight. We've allowed the political world to become a spectator sport.
                                                        • Corn Ground
                                                          The other "unintentional consequence" of the ethanol mandate and $8 corn is there are a lot less hay acres, thus less hay to buy pushing hay prices thru the roof, and little pasture left because it has been put into corn production whether it is suitable or not...
                                                        • Ethanol a costly deception
                                                          Ethanol has done nothing for supposed performance in cars. Mileage is lower, increased decay of parts and science has proven it does basically nothing for pollution. The problem is; the subsidize from the government!
                                                        • This is an issue
                                                          I think this is one of the biggest tragedies of our time. It's not just that corn is being siphoned off for political fuel. Brazilians are destroying rainforest to plant crops for American consumers. Riots are occuring and people are dying in third world countries because cheap American grain is no longer available. Use foreign aid money to subsidize the farmers, not American drivers.
                                                        • Ethanol isn't from Human Consumption Corn
                                                          I'm not taking any political side here, but I thought I'd inform other commentors that the ethanol harvested is from feeder corn -- the stuff that goes to livestock which we eventually eat. Ethanol's also "harvested" from the back ends of said livestock. While there is a general shortage of the corn, part of it is corn we wouldn't have consumed directly anyway (though it still causes a shortage on beef, pork, etc.). Of course, I suppose next year farmers could plant more sweet corn (the stuff for us) and less feeder corn (the stuff for livestock/ethanol), but little can be done this season. The good news -- if you can call it such -- is that with the resulting increase in price of feeder corn, it's not cost effective to make ethanol right now anyway. People won't buy a fuel product that's more expensive than standard gasoline and the industry knows it.
                                                        • It's not all ethanol
                                                          Cattle can't eat only corn. They must have roughage from the rest of the conn plant as well, or hay, or grass. It is uneconomical to truck the roughage very far.
                                                        • Family Farm Gone Forever
                                                          The ethanol mandate is not only making the livestock industry extinct, it is putting an end to the "family farm." We are 3rd generation dairy/livestock farmers. Corn growers are being propped up not only with the ethanol mandate, but the crop insurance program. They are driving up rents, even with the dwindling corn crop, making BIG money. We love our livestock, but can't afford to compete with gov't subsidized corn farmers. It is all politics-no common sense. If the consumers only knew what was going on.
                                                          • Ethanol
                                                            It is not going to happen unless people in this country begin starving. Members of both parties are too dependent on ethanol for votes. I am old enough to remember when our legislators voted for what was good for the country rather than for job security.
                                                          • Apology for repetition
                                                            The CAPTCHA box kept challenging me and I refused to give in. Sorry for the duplication!
                                                          • Let them eat windmills
                                                            Politics aside, how can so many seemingly intelligent people believe that producing ethanol is more important that feeding people? Bad beef and pork producers... bad poultry growers,...bad cereal manufacturers. We don't need food anymore, we can simply rise above such mundane desires and bask in the breeze of a wind-turbine. And there we may starve.
                                                            • Boo Hoo
                                                              Republican cattlemen whining that republican farmers are costing them money. And yet it's somehow Obama's fault.
                                                              • Stop burning our food!
                                                                Ethanol is such a huge overreach of government authority. The constitution is clear. It doesn't need to be interpreted to mean something it was never meant to. Show me where in the constitution is the authority to force this ethanol mess that ruins our engines on us, just because a few primary states grow a lot of corn. First they are making us burn our food. Next they are going to take away our meat? They started with a chicken in every pot, and ditched it for an ear in every engine.
                                                              • Stop!!!!!
                                                                Stop burning our FOOD!!!!!
                                                              • Criminal
                                                                This is absolutely criminal. Forget about higher beef prices in this country and consider the amount of corn that we export. Many children in third world countries depend on our abundance of corn just to stay alive. Basically, the way I see this is the willful starvation of children based on crackpot environmental policies that do not work.

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                                                                1. You are correct that Obamacare requires health insurance policies to include richer benefits and protects patients who get sick. That's what I was getting at when I wrote above, "That’s because Obamacare required insurers to take all customers, regardless of their health status, and also established a floor on how skimpy the benefits paid for by health plans could be." I think it's vital to know exactly how much the essential health benefits are costing over previous policies. Unless we know the cost of the law, we can't do a cost-benefit analysis. Taxes were raised in order to offset a 31% rise in health insurance premiums, an increase that paid for richer benefits. Are those richer benefits worth that much or not? That's the question we need to answer. This study at least gets us started on doing so.

                                                                2. *5 employees per floor. Either way its ridiculous.

                                                                3. Jim, thanks for always ready my stuff and providing thoughtful comments. I am sure that someone more familiar with research design and methods could take issue with Kowalski's study. I thought it was of considerable value, however, because so far we have been crediting Obamacare for all the gains in coverage and all price increases, neither of which is entirely fair. This is at least a rigorous attempt to sort things out. Maybe a quixotic attempt, but it's one of the first ones I've seen try to do it in a sophisticated way.

                                                                4. In addition to rewriting history, the paper (or at least your summary of it) ignores that Obamacare policies now must provide "essential health benefits". Maybe Mr Wall has always been insured in a group plan but even group plans had holes you could drive a truck through, like the Colts defensive line last night. Individual plans were even worse. So, when you come up with a study that factors that in, let me know, otherwise the numbers are garbage.

                                                                5. You guys are absolutely right: Cummins should build a massive 80-story high rise, and give each employee 5 floors. Or, I suppose they could always rent out the top floors if they wanted, since downtown office space is bursting at the seams (http://www.ibj.com/article?articleId=49481).

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