Stop the Nonsense

By Mike Bryan | November 05, 2012

It’s time to get real about this talk of waiving the renewable fuels standard (RFS). So we have had one year of drought and as a result only produced the eighth largest corn crop in history and because of that we should abandon a program that has contributed to economic growth of America for the past 30 years?

Then perhaps we should stop oil subsidies, because of the Exon Valdez or the BP Gulf oil spill. Why not stop federal and state funding of education because there is a shortage of qualified teachers? One could list dozens of examples of continuing commitments made by government that transcend the high and low cycles of life.

The transparency of those proposing the RFS waiver is so blatantly obvious that it allows anyone with an ounce of perception to see right through it. There are three things driving this nonsense: money, political gain and perhaps a bit of editorial notoriety, in some perverse way.

Those writing about this issue aren’t actually doing any research, they simply are regurgitating things that other people, who have done no research, have written or said. When you examine those in Congress who are railing against the RFS, there is either money or political capital to be gained. It’s time Washington wakes up and examines who and what is driving this ridiculous effort to abandon one of the most successful energy programs ever undertaken in American history.

We should not even be having this discussion. The jobs, the economic contribution, the energy security and environmental benefits ethanol provides are deeply woven into the American economy.

USDA breaks down the uses of corn for the 2010 year as follows: of the roughly 13 billion bushels of field corn produced, 36 percent was used as feed for domestic livestock (beef, pork, poultry), 31 percent was used for ethanol (also resulting in 1.5 billion bushels of distillers grains, a coproduct of ethanol production that is used as livestock feed), 14 percent was exported to other countries (Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan and Egypt are the top recipients), 9 percent was used for human food, seed and industrial use, and 11 percent was carried over as a surplus. Little has changed since that analysis was made, except for a smaller corn crop in 2012.

So stop the nonsense! Ethanol is not causing world hunger, it is not devastating the livestock industry or decimating the rain forests, and it is not having any significant impact on the price of food. What the RFS is doing is helping keep a domestic renewable energy industry strong and growing and in doing so, we set an example to the world of the power of agriculture.

That’s the way I see it.

Author: Mike Bryan
Chairman, BBI International
mbryan@bbiinternational.com