With drought-fueled corn prices threatening to clobber consumers in the grocery store, it’s time for the federal government to ease the ethanol mandate
This year’s drought has already raised wholesale corn prices dramatically, and consumers will likely soon feel the pinch at the grocery store checkout. Economists are warning of a 3-4 percent rise in food prices this year and next as well, an especially poorly-timed circumstance given the recent weakness in the economy.
Nobody is feeling this pain more sharply than Maryland’s poultry producers, who have traditionally relied on corn above all else to feed their chickens. They have called on theU.S. Environmental Protection Agencyto reduce or waive the so-called ethanol mandate or “Renewable Fuel Standard,” a 7-year-old requirement that will result in 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop being used in the production of biofuel.
While we have had our differences with the poultry industry and their views on the EPA and the enforcement of Clean Water Act standards on poultry litter disposal, they are right on target on ethanol. Corn may be regarded as an important resource to ethanol producers, but it is vital as animal feed, and that needs to be the higher priority.