Ethanol, Pitting Ranchers against Farmers?
In a country where Corn is King, you would assume that rural ranchers and farmers in our countries corn belt would vote for a president who is Pro Ethanol. After all, most ethanol is made from corn and the U.S. Government is paying farmers to grow it. But a growing number of cattle and pig ranchers are seeing the increased price of corn, drive them out of business.
Sen. John McCain, the Republican nominee, opposes the Renewable Fuel Standard and Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, supports it. Two farmers from Ohio, offered their perspective on how the presidential candidates’ stances will influence their votes in the Nov. 4 election.
Tim Blair, who has spent 33 years raising hogs, will be voting for Sen. McCain. Tim predicts he’ll be out of business by year’s end, and said “I’ve basically spent my life savings the past 14 months hoping it would get better.”
Speaking of the growing feed prices that are making his hog operation unprofitable, he continued by adding, “I’m losing money because of the government’s policy.” (A mandate that requires 9 billion gallons of renewable fuel such as ethanol to be blended with gasoline.)
In the world of hog farming, feed accounts for two-thirds or more of the cost of raising hogs and cash prices for corn, reached more than $7 per bushel for a few weeks this summer, almost double what prices had been a year earlier.
When he heard that Senator McCain favors eliminating the Renewable Fuel Standard, he came off the undecided fence, saying, “Amen, brother, he’s seen the light.”
Tom Becker, a 600 acre corn farmer, sees things a different way, and will of course be voting for Sen. Obama. “Ethanol is one of the big things that down the road is going to help farmers more than (Sen. John) McCain’s ideas,” he said.
The debate is a hot one, pitting neighbor against neighbor. Of course it goes without saying that we don’t see things the way they are. We see things the way we are, and each of these two men is financially vested in one side of the issue.
Much too often, what is right for us as individuals is not always what is right for Society. In a world that’s not only running out of oil, but suffering because of it’s over-use, the question then becomes, “Where do you stand on the Ethanol question, and how is you’re position based on you’re personal interests?”
Source: Dayton Daily News
Photo: Courtesy of Leoniewise, via Creative Commons License