Acting U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Conner said last week that higher corn prices are only a small factor behind higher food prices.

In a speech to the Renewable Fuels Association, Conner said, “The data that has been presented to me shows that it (higher corn prices) has been assigned far more than its fair share of blame for what is happening in our grocery store aisles.”

Conner noted that droughts in Europe, Asia and Australia have reduced yields in those areas, while demand for milk and dairy products in Asia has increased. The rising cost of oil, he added, affects processing, packaging, distribution and marketing costs. “A much, much greater impact than higher grain prices as a result of ethanol,” he said.

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