Their view: Ethanol mandate hurts cattle growers

Exceprts from a press release on waiving the Renewable Fuels Standard issued by the The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.

The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association joined Texas Gov. Perry to call on the Environmental Protection Agency to waive all or part of the Renewable Fuels Standard.

In a letter to Lisa Jackson, administrator to the EPA, Perry stated that the fact that more than 40 percent of the U.S. annual corn supply was to used to meet the RFS corn-based ethanol requirement and that this threatens the sustainability of agricultural producers.

Federal law allows the EPA administrator to waive the RFS requirements for up to one year if their implementation would severely harm the economy or environment of a state, a region or the United States.

Joe Parker, rancher and TSCRA president, says that ranchers and consumers are both hurting because of the government-mandated standard that requires a certain amount of ethanol, most of which comes from corn, be produced on an annual basis regardless of the amount of corn available.

More corn diverted to ethanol has meant higher prices for feed and ultimately lower prices offered to cow-calf producers. This is especially true during times of extreme drought, when corn supplies are tight and/or cattle need to be fed more.

"It has been clear from the beginning that putting our food and fuel in competition with one another is bad for the cattle industry and ultimately bad for consumers," Parker said.

"This problem is magnified during times of extreme drought like the one we are in now," Parker said.

2011 was the first year ever that ethanol production has used more corn than feeding livestock and poultry in the U.S.

"The bottom line is that the government shouldn't be subsidizing or mandating ethanol production, especially when there's not enough corn to go around."

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