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sw363535
Honored Advisor

Re: Recipe for cheap food, Nox.

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Nox the case is simple.  I will make it less kind.

 

If you want to stimulate grain production you can't alienate the folks who produce most of it.

 

It is "public" policy for food security.

 

 It does not fall under the equal rights ammendment.

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Otherwise close down USDA and let producers compete and buyers bid  ------------ Problem is you can't untangle usda from the tight rein of regulation both sides struggle under.

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hardnox604008
Advisor

Re: Recipe for cheap food, Nox.

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Don't think it substitutes on a gallon for gallon basis.

 

Depends on which particular pollutant is benchmarked- can't recall the detail but it matters if its NOX, VOCS or whatever.

 

Which is somewhat arbitrary and was some of the politics of the '99 CAA that gave the nod to MTBE over ethanol- duelling expert witnesses as to which should be emphasized and in that case Ag and ADM may be strong politically but Big Oil was stronger.

 

As to the question of expert witnesses, the real ringer on the corn ethanol was the testimony about a continously accelerating yield trend which did make the numbers seem to work.

 

You can always find somebody with some form of credentials who can present what you want to hear.

 

Another ringer is about oxygenates in the original '99 CAA - another linear extrapolation where they said that, look, this is bad but if you extrapolate this line of gasoline usage in urban areas out 20 years it gets really bad when you're using twice as much gas- so we have to do something. Of course gas usage is falling and is actually currently back to 2002 levels.

 

I don't think that having some ethanol in fuel is a bad thing I just think the original policy was very poorly crafted. I don't even think that it makes any sense to backtrack from where we are- we've already (mis?) directed a fair amount of capital in that direction, why not use it? 

 

I just don't want to see ethanol used as a blunt farm support option- that every time there is any build of stocks we're calling to burn it back down. I think we're getting past that point politically.

 

Although as seen in this discussion, when you're dealing with policy in complex matters, stuff happens that was not originally assumed in the policy and it is real hard to make adjustments in the course to deal with it.

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hardnox604008
Advisor

Re: Recipe for cheap food, Nox.

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I simply don't accept that.

 

The ground that needs to be farmed (virtually all of it) will get farmed.

 

There is plenty of excess farm capacity- the greatest part of capacity being balance sheets, which are for the most part very healthy. But plenty of iron, manpower as well.

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Jim Meade / Iowa City
Senior Advisor

Re: Recipe for cheap food, Nox.

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In the '90's, ethanol was very much a local coop, farmer driven proposition that was going to get corn farmers out from under the heel of break even prices.  It was a very populist movement. Remember when you bought a share that let you contract X number of bushels.  Only later did big companies get into it and take it over.  Only later did rabid special interest groups start driving the distortion and smear campaigns that eventually ended up wtih ethanol being an unpopular program for the average citizen.

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hardnox604008
Advisor

Re: Recipe for cheap food, Nox.

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Raging paranoia about all the enemies of agriculture aside, it is easier to defend policies when they are well formulated to begin with.

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BA Deere
Honored Advisor

Re: Recipe for cheap food, Nox.

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The price has to be high enough to get the acres, I can prove it with a not uncommon sight in the midwest, the "putting golf courses into crops" because of "$8 corn" http://www.uppermichiganssource.com/news/story.aspx?id=900210#.UjykAWd8OUk 

 

I fully agree that in God`s country, you`ll see fencerow to fencerow, corn and beans regardless of the price, in places like Clarion, Iowa (due to high prices even those fencerows are further apart) .

 

But that easy 100-200 bushel ground gets you what ...80 million corn acres???? That other 16 million acres has to come from cotton, pasture, wheat...golf courses.  It`s stuff that has to be irrigated in some cases, flood prone, it has to be bid for, but once USDA counts the "96 million intended corn acres, down goes the prices. 

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BA Deere
Honored Advisor

Re: Policies to benefit rural America

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Hey Nox, I want to be perfectly clear, in my perfect world there would be 400 acre family farms, with hogs and cattle, Ma hanging clothes on the line, a dog barking, 4 kids laughing and running.  5 miles away in town, like every town there would be a school for only that town, 3 hardware stores where they know your name, a hog buying station, maybe a sale barn.  That`s what I want, that would be best for farmers, small towns and America.  It would even be best for John Deere, because instead of making (1) 560 hp behemoth they could make a dozen "4020" sized tractors, I would think the company would employ more and be more profitable.  The way it is now a Bigshot has to order the behemoth to be made at the factory and Jews the dealer into the dirt on the price.

 

 

But we`re all living in Realville here, for better or worse (I think worse) we`re in a "global economy" that pits US workers against foreign slave workers, so to survive US workers need the cheapest food supply to make this dog and pony show appear to work.   If I`m a single mother living in New York, I don`t give a crap about the long term and a Norman Rockwell idea of what farming should be.  I just want my kids to have the cheapest, safest food possible and so far the American Farmer has held up that end of the bargain....with a few "carrots" and the occasional "stick" from the USDA, EPA and DOT   😉

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hardnox604008
Advisor

Re: Policies to benefit rural America

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Why would food be cheaper? 

 

Only the cost to the government and the taxpayer would be cheaper.

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hardnox604008
Advisor

Re: Policies to benefit rural America

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More directly to the point, why is subsidizing that structure going to provide cheap food?

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BA Deere
Honored Advisor

Re: Policies to benefit rural America

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In my prefect world, food would actually be  higher, but more people would be making a living wage and could afford it.  I think from a food safety and security stand point it would be better also, if one farm had an issue in which it would need quarantined it could happen faster, containing the problem. As it is now, we`re all in a monoculture, planting our GMOs, everybody essentially doing the same things to the same crops during the same times.  There will no longer be any "small" problems.

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