A Growing Disaster: NYTimes Op-Ed

RUSSELL HARDING, in an Op-Ed published in yesterday’s NYTimes, explains the growing disaster behind growing corn for ethanol:

(…) Ethanol prices trend higher and lower along with the price of gasoline, yet the cost of producing ethanol tends to rise with demand, since higher ethanol production exerts upward pressure on the price of corn. In a free market, corn prices might be expected to eventually fall as the market adjusts to increased demand. But because the government heavily promotes ethanol use through subsidies and regulation, the market is continually strained.

The problem is magnified because corn is a water- and fertilizer-intensive crop that requires considerable investment. Worse, since fertilizer is often an oil-based product, the cost of growing corn tends to rise at the very moment ethanol prices, which rise with oil prices, might bring a good return.

Read the complete text here.

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One Response to A Growing Disaster: NYTimes Op-Ed

  1. Michael says:

    There are some facts in this opinion page, but very few. One glaring omission in the opinion of Mr. Harding is the fact that oil companies get some of the biggest subsidies of any group in America. Why is it OK to pay huge oil companies to bring oil from countries that don’t like us much and it is not OK to pay our own family farmers.
    The farmer today gets only 19 cents of every food dollar spent. A very large share of that food dollar is spent in transporting fresh food from around the globe to our tables. It is no wonder that food prices go up when oil prices do.
    I will admit that corn production has been both fertilizer and water dependent, but that is rapidly changing. It currently takes one half of the fertilizer and water to produce a bushel of corn than it did just a few years ago.
    Modern corn production is an energy dependent business for farm families across the continent. We are proud to now be producing some of the energy that we use.

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