Some strong criticism today from Iowa Senator Charles Grassley directed towards that coalition of livestock, meat and poultry groups asking for changes to the Renewable Fuels Standard’s ethanol mandate.
“I think that what the group is really asking for is to have the grain farmers subsidize their livestock feed at three or four dollars, like they did or have been over a long period of time—until two or three years ago when the price of grain got up,” Grassley says, “and I think they ought to be a little bit embarrassed to think that the grain farmer ought to subsidize the livestock farmer.”
And, Grassley adds, if not for a vibrant ethanol market for corn, farmers wouldn’t have planted 96 million acres in 2012—the most since 1937.
“If we didn’t have an ethanol industry, you’d probably have more like 85 or 86 million acres of corn planted,” he says, “and if you had this drought, you’d probably have the same problem for the livestock farmers—and they wouldn’t have the ethanol industry as a scapegoat.”
Grassley says the most negative consequence of the livestock and meat industry’s action is how it is dividing the ag community.