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That Evil Corn Again

When corn is used to make ethanol, the question becomes: food or fuel? Even though the type of corn used to make biofuel is not the kind people eat, its use can raise food prices here in the US. Keep reading to learn why.

Ethanol production used less than 5% of the nation?s corn in 1990-91, or 333 million bushels, but used as much as 24% percent (3.1 billion bushels) by 2007-08. The top five states in ethanol production?Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, South Dakota and Minnesota?currently account for two-thirds of ethanol production capacity, and are channeling a substantial share of their corn into ethanol processing. About 60% of South Dakota?s corn went into ethanol production by 2007-08, the highest proportion of any state. In Iowa the figure was 50%; in Nebraska, 40%; and in Minnesota and Illinois, 30%.

This sounds like a wonderful bonanza for farmers in those sates, who are now heavily subsidized by taxpayers because they can't find markets for all their corn, but the he increasing rate of corn for ethanol use has affected the availability of corn for feed and exports. Less corn for cattle feed means less meat and higher prices for the meat that is available.

Now that gas prices are no longer sky high, ethanol production is no longer a priority, but despite this, evil corn raises its ugly head again.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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