(A response from George Rehm, retired Extension nutrient management specialist from the University of Minnesota, to a recent Corn E-Digest question about ethanol's bad rap. Click here for the original story.)
I agree with you 100%. Corn-ethanol is definitely getting a bad rap from the national non-farm media and, in my opinion, the criticism is totally unjustified. Contrary to the viewpoint of the national media, the escalation of the price of food is a complex issue without a single cause. We can identify such factors as escalating fuel costs, limitations to distribution by autocratic leaders etc. The issue of accelerating food prices is not a simple cause and effect problem. The complexity is lost in the eyes of the national media.
I also believe that the bad rap for ethanol is due, in large part, to the emotions and false perceptions of ecologists, environmentalists and "sustainers." These individuals have continually opposed progress in agricultural production. They have repeatedly ignored the facts that have been documented time and again choosing, instead, to criticize from only emotion and false perception.
Unfortunately, these critics seem to have an inside track and can deliver their biased viewpoint to the national media with ease. This practice has been documented with other issues that I will not address here.
In another aspect of the cost-of-food issue, the national non-ag media has either missed, not understood or ignored a major problem. Check any grocery store and you’ll find that the price of organic food is much higher. This higher price is not associated with any documented benefits.
Although I do not actively participate in daily farming activities, I am directly involved in farming in Nebraska. You have my permission to use part or all of this response in any way that you see fit.