Growth Energy forms to fight food price myths

By Erin Voegele | November 03, 2008
Web exclusive posted Nov. 17, 2008 at 11:19 a.m. CST

A group of U.S. ethanol producers launched Growth Energy, a new advocacy organization dedicated to promoting ethanol as America's best renewable fuel that is high-tech and homegrown, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the nation's dependence on foreign oil. In making the announcement on Nov. 11, the ethanol producers focused on setting the record straight regarding ethanol's effect on food prices.

Growth Energy has rolled out an advertising campaign focused on dispelling the myth about ethanol's role in increasing the price of food. The advertisements were scheduled to run in the New York Times. In addition, a policy brief and Web site were unveiled.

Jeff Broin, Poet's chief executive officer, said the food industry and their Washington lobbyists have been trying to blame the rising cost of food on ethanol producers and the cost of corn. Although the price of corn has dropped more than 50 percent since this summer, Broin said food prices have remained high, and food manufacturers are raking in record profits.

"The lies the Big Food lobby has been spreading about clean, green biofuels have finally been exposed as an intellectually dishonest smear campaign," Broin said. "It's wrong and we're coming together to ask Big Food to give struggling Americans a break."

Noting the rising food prices this past spring, the Grocery Manufacturers Association conducted a PR campaign against American ethanol producers, arguing that biofuels production increased the demand and cost of corn which forced food producers to raise food prices for consumers.

According to a statement released by the Growth Energy, the organization is committed to the promise of agriculture and growing America's economy through green energy. "We will be working with other trade associations in the industry trying to drive the good message of ethanol forward," Broin said.

Members of Growth Energy include representatives from Poet LLC, ICM Inc., Western Plains Energy LLC, Hawkeye Renewables LLC and Green Plains Renewable Energy Inc.