Big Corn Equals Sour Milk with No Sweetener

Published June 29, 2007

The recent article on biofuels production (“Biofuels are top farm-bill goal in rural U.S.: Poll,” Washington Post June 27) belies the fact that inflationary government-stimulated demand for these fuels is increasing basic food costs for American consumers. According to Larry Salathe, a senior economist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the biofuel-driven rising cost for corn, which doubles as feed for dairy cows, is the biggest driver of higher milk prices this year. He estimates that, based on milk data newly released by the federal government, there will be an 82- cents per-gallon increase per gallon this year compared with 12 months ago.

Experts say inflated corn prices of up to $6 per bushel could increase prices for beef, pork and a host of other commodities including cereal, snack foods, and soft drinks that use corn as a sweetener. Prices for livestock feed will also rise, so consumers can expect to pay more for steak, pork and chicken.

In the name of energy independence and federal market manipulation, we find the ultimate loser is the American consumer, who pays more in the market place for basic essentials. Yet only four- tenths of 1percent of American drivers have vehicles which are retrofitted as hybrids which can use ethanol. So much for progress and energy independence?

Ralph W. Conner ([email protected]) is local legislation manager for The Heartland Institute.