Let's Help the Poultry Industry Better Understand Ethanol and the Renewable Fuels Standard

For some reason, our fellow farmers in the poultry industry still do not understand the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and ethanol.

Maybe they’ll get it if corn farmers contact them directly.

This recent commentary in the Star Tribune, penned by a turkey and a chicken producer, attacked the RFS and called on Congress to reduce the ethanol blend rate. The piece also blamed ethanol for increased food and feed costs by making the same old tired and dated food vs. fuel arguments.

These attacks on corn farmers from fellow farmers need to end. When farmers start throwing rocks at each other, all of agriculture ends up with a black eye and a giant bandage around its head. It’s unproductive.

MCGA encourages corn farmers to tell the author’s of the misguided Star Tribune commentary to (please) knock it off. You can reach John Burkel through the general manager at Northern Pride and Mike Helgeson directly. Contact information is listed below.

Northern Pride:
General Manager, Troy Stauffenecker
218-681-1201 Ext. 30

GNP (GoldNPlump):
Mike Helgeson, owner

In addition to reminding Mr. Burkel and Mr. Helgeson about the importance of farmers remaining united for the benefit of all of agriculture, make sure they know these other facts as well:

  • It’s the high cost of oil — not corn ethanol — that’s driving increased food prices. A recent World Bank study confirmed this. The energy expended attacking ethanol would be better spent joining your fellow corn farmers in trying to loosen Big Oil’s monopoly on transportation fuels.  
  • Poultry production has increased since the RFS was passed. Chicken and turkey farmers are making money. Ethanol has added value to corn and created a new market for corn farmers, which in turn has been good for all of agriculture — including poultry.
  • Food vs. fuel is an argument that has been debunked many times over. We grow plenty of corn to feed the world and fill our cars with clean, renewable and homegrown ethanol. The entire Minnesota turkey industry feeds 36 million bushels of corn per year. Corn farmers in Minnesota alone harvested 1.37 billion bushels last year.
  • The byproducts from the ethanol-making process mean we get more than just fuel whenever a bushel of corn is used to make 2.8 gallons of ethanol. We also get about 18 pounds of dried distillers grains (a high-protein feed), 14 pounds of corn gluten pellets, 1.8 pounds of corn oil and 17 pounds of Co2.
  • Corn farmers don’t tell poultry farmers to sell less in the export markets so bird prices remain cheap back home. Poultry farmers shouldn’t tell corn farmers to sell less corn for ethanol so they can buy cheap corn. Adding value and building new markets for both products is a good thing.

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