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jrsiajdranch
Veteran Advisor

Slick willie says......

Ethol isn't the answer.

 

Bill Clinton: Too much ethanol could lead to food riots
Bill Clinton: Too much ethanol could lead to food riotsFont Size: Default font size Larger font size
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buy this photoAgriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack applauds at left, as former President Bill Clinton waves after addressing the Agriculture Department's Agricultural Outlook Forum in Arlington, Va., Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)  

WASHINGTON -- Former President Bill Clinton on Thursday warned farmers not to use so much corn for ethanol fuel that it leads to higher food prices and riots in poor countries.

"We have to become energy independent but we don't want to do it at the expense of food riots," Clinton said at the Agriculture Department's annual agricultural outlook conference, which draws agribusiness executives, university experts and others in the industry from around the country.

The Des Moines Register reported Clinton stopped short of calling for slower biofuel production but said there was a need for some kind of periodic reassessment of the industry. There is a need to "make intelligent decisions with three- to five-year time horizons with the best information we have to maximize the availability of good food at affordable prices," Clinton said. He did not elaborate and did not take questions after his speech.

Clinton's warning stood in contrast to those of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who said there is "no reason to take the foot off the gas" when it comes to biofuels, because U.S. farmers "can do it all."

Clinton told the outlook forum he believes producing biofuels such as corn-based ethanol is important for reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil. But, he said, farmers should look beyond domestic production and consider the needs of developing countries.

"We know that the way we produce and consume energy has to change, yet for farmers there are no simple answers," he said. "There is a way for us to do this and to do it right."

Clinton's foundation has worked to develop agribusiness in African countries such as Malawi and Rwanda.

At the department's annual Agricultural Outlook Forum, chief economist Joseph Glauber said food prices are expected to rise this year and corn use for ethanol will continue to grow. He said 37 percent of all U.S. corn production could be used for ethanol by 2012.

The ethanol industry long has said that its production does not significantly drive up food prices and that the price of corn contributes to a tiny percentage of every food dollar.

"The driver behind rising food prices has been and remains oil," said Matt Hartwig of the ethanol industry group Renewable Fuels Association. "Rising oil prices, even before the unrest in the Middle East and Northern Africa, have made everything we buy from food to clothes to oil more expensive."

Other industries, including some cattle feeders, have contended that ethanol contributes to food price spikes, affecting their bottom lines and consumers, too.

After years of boosting subsidized ethanol production, Congress has taken an increasingly skeptical look at the fuel as food prices have fluctuated and cutting spending has become a legislative priority.

More than $5 billion in ethanol tax credits were extended at the end of last year as a part of an end-of-session tax deal. But the new Republican House passed two amendments to a spending bill last weekend that would attempt to slow ethanol use.

Glauber said Thursday that ethanol production is currently running at more than 13 billion gallons a year. Congress has required refiners to blend 36 billion gallons of biofuels, mostly ethanol, into auto fuel by 2022.

Copyright 2011 JournalStar.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, ...

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34 Replies
4wd
Senior Contributor

Re: Slick willie says......

I'll bet Tom Vilsack bit his lip when Klinton started throwing cold water on Ethanol. When Tom was govenor of Iowa, he was Ethanol's and bio diesel's biggest cheerleader, saying he wanted to make Iowa the "Saudie Arabia" of the United States when it came to fuels.

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clayton58
Veteran Advisor

Re: Slick willie says......

They're both politicians,  skilled at talking out both sides of their mouths.  watch what they do, not what they say.  It's clear Vilsack is nothing more than a puppet of the regime,er administration , instead of the advocate for agriculture we all hoped he'd be.

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GoredHusker
Senior Contributor

Re: Slick willie says......

When all is said and done, the 2010 crop year will go down as the needle that pricked the balloon.  We're no closer to mass producing ethanol from biomass than we were five years ago.  I find it hard to believe we'll be much further along in ten years.  Assuming ethanol makes up 30 of the 36 million gallons, I highly doubt we're grinding ten plus million bushels of corn for ethanol. 

 

In terms of Vilsack, I remember being warned about him from several Iowa posters on this forum when he was appointed.  The best case scenario is that we lose the blenders credit and import tariff.  The worst case scenario is we lose both of those and a chunk of the mandate.  For quite some time, I've always held the belief that ethanol would go down in history similar to Carter's embargo.  I've always wondered if Bush didn't have this in the back of his mind as he was signing these mandates into legislation.  The best way to get rid of something is to over promote it.   

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mjalbers3
Contributor

Re: Slick willie says......

We must be careful what we wish for or we might just get it. Our government may begin to dictate policy in all sectors of food production(as if they aren't regulkating the livestock industry already). Just heard yesterday as of 2018 tail docking dairy  cows in Ohio will no longer be legal. We are entering the era of poor non science based management decisions made by groups who have absolutely no perception of why this nation became the best MOST STABLE supplier of food in the world. Ask the Russians what happens when you throw it all away. Food riots aren't quite close enough to home YET....

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jec22
Veteran Advisor

Re: Slick willie says......

What is one of America's most valued resourses?  Grain.  Now for middle east countries it is oil.  Do you think those countries keep trying to figure out how to lower the cost of oil?  But, it seems popular to keep trying to lower the price of grains.  When corn doubles in price from 3 to 6 bucks, adds about 3 cents to the cost of a box of corn flakes.  It also adds about 15-20 cents a pound to the cost of meat.  Obviously, it is not the cost of grain behind the biggest rise in food inflation.

But, the powers that be, that really run this country from behind the scenes, don't want ethanol.  I don't know if that is because they are so deep with big oil, or what. They have the consumer believing all their crap.  Personally, I am tired of fighting it.  Can't believe they want gas prices to go up another 80 cents if ethanol was gone, but so be it. 

And Gored, as for the import tax, 7% of total supply is already allowed into this country import tax free....and we aren't even close to bringing 7%.  So any ethanol now that Brazil wants to send up here, would be tax free until the 7% was hit. 

What really blows my mind, with all the unrest in the Middle east, why would you be for more dependence on foreign oil? As I write this, we are spending military dollars on those countries.  My guess is that those powers that be are well compensated from the powers that be in the Middle East.  Get real, OPEC has quotas, in a time of 100 oil, they have quotas.  With 7 dollar corn, how would people react if ag put in production quotas?

 

 

 

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GoredHusker
Senior Contributor

Re: Slick willie says......

I ran across this article today.  The most disappointing thing to me with regards to all of this technology is that the U.S. has been passed by significantly by France.  The really sad part of it all is the fact that the EPA will find something dangerous about, hence making these cars illegal.  Anyway, here is the article.

 

The technology has been the focus of MDI, a European company founded in 1991 by a French inventor and former race car engineer.  New York-based Zero Pollution Motors is the first firm to obtain a license from MDI to produce the cars in the United States, pledging to deliver the first models in 2010 at a price tag of less than $18,000.  The concept is similar to how a locomotive works, except compressed air -- not steam -- moves the engine's pistons, said Shiva Vencat, vice president of MDI and CEO of Zero Pollution Motors.  Gas still plays a role.  The six-seater planned for the U.S. market would be able to reach speeds of more than 90 mph and have a range of more than 800 miles thanks to a dual energy engine, Vencat said.

The design calls for one or more tanks of compressed air under the car's floor, as well as a tank holding at least 8 gallons of fuel.  Whether the engine uses just air or both air and fuel would depend on how fast the car is going. It would run purely on compressed air at speeds less than 35 mph, Vencat said.  Since the car could only go a short distance when using just air, fuel is needed to get the full range, he explained.  "Above 35 mph, there is an external combustion system, which is basically a heater that uses a little bit of gasoline or biofuel or ethanol or vegetable oil that will heat the air," Vencat said.  "Heating the air increases its volume, and by increasing its volume, it increases [the car's] range. That's why with one gallon of gasoline or its equivalent we are able to make over 100 mpg."  Vencat said an on-board compressor would refill the air tank while the car is running, or owners could refill it by plugging it into a power outlet for four hours.  Is it for real?  Experts aren't sure Americans will be zipping around in air cars and getting 106 mpg, or more than twice the fuel economy of hybrid-electric vehicles such as the Toyota Prius.

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GoredHusker
Senior Contributor

Re: Slick willie says......

Grain is one of our most valued resources?  Since when?  How much of the GDP does the value of our grains even make?  If it's so valuable, then we should just shut off all exports and keep it to ourselves.  I'd be very interested in how you come to the conclusion that gasoline prices would be 80 cents higher without ethanol.  We have the highest stocks of gasoline in over a decade.  Even if we remove the ethanol stocks from the gasoline stocks, we're still well above the twenty year average for gasoline supplies.  Does it really matter if corn goes to 100 bucks a bushel?  When we're out, we're out.  No amount of money can purchase something that doesn't exist.

 

What burns me more than anything is the U.S. response to energy independance.  Today, Vilsack is out there toting some insurance for biomass to produce ethanol.  The problems with this are we can't even mass produce biomass ethanol.  We're no closer to being able to do it than we were five years ago.  The second problem here anyway is that to comply with FSA we have to have proper residue in order to control erosion.  Taking off the biomass will take us out of compliance with FSA.  The combustible engine has been around for decades.  Yet, they're no more efficient than they were back in the 70's.  Rather than coming up with new technology, we simply continue banging our head against the same brick wall while other countries are passing us by with technology.  France has the technology for cars running on compressed air.  As long as one doesn't drive over 35 mph, there is absolutely zero fossil fuel used.  I believe it was Volkswagon that has the technology to produce a vehicle that receives well over 100 mpg, and they've had the technology for over a decade.  What do we have?  We have the same cars still receiving the same 25-30 mpg.  Today's hybrids barely match the fuel mileage of a Chevette I had back in the 80's that got 40-45 mpg.  The new truck engines are getting 4-5 mpg while the older ones easily et 6 mpg.  As far as I'm concerned we're  between stuck in the mud to heading backwards with regards to energy independance.

 

I am not now nor have I ever been in favor of dependance on foreign oil.  Let's face some hard realities here.  Crude oil will eventually run out.  Ethanol was never anything more than a bandaid.  There are alternatives.  It's about time the U.S. and the World stepped up to the reality that the combustible engine has run its course.  The horse and buggy days ended, and it's time for the combustible engine to take a backseat to some new technology.  It's amazing to me how technology has ruled computers, internet, etc.; yet we're still using the same old tired technology for transportation.  There are better ways than to have to depend on an unstable region and/or using up our food supply.  I still find it amazing how a computer bought today will become obsolete within 6-8 months to models better and faster while the only makover in the combustible engine in decades went from carbeurated to fuel injected.          

 

 

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kraft-t
Senior Advisor

Re: Slick willie says......

It seems as though the former president thinks it is not only our right to produce food but it is our responsibility as well. And cheap food at that. So what does he say to the cotton farmers that could be growing food. To the booze industry that converts millions of bushels of grain into alcohol products or barley pop?

 

It seems that grain producers have been struggling for most of our productive lives to get better prices for our production and that has been an effort wasted. Our real goal should have been to high volume production at low cost aka low prices. MY God we are at risk of creating turmoil somewhere in the world simply because we want to make a buck. As if turmoil didn't exist in other parts of the world. So our main responsibility is world charity.

 

Is he saying anything to the big exporters and shippers that their margins are too high? That they should sacrifice to maintain world order.  I think Bubba did not think those comments through well enough. The world governments can chip the money in and buy grain at the market price and then use it for charitable gifting. Don't expect the american farmer to pick up the tab.

 

 

Palouser
Senior Advisor

Re: Slick willie says......

Gored, I have to agree with many of your statements. I think there is another factor at work that is very important. But, it is important to understand that many countries have advanced technology AND they are attempting to IMPLEMENT them. Germany is a case in point. They are a powerhouse exporter of products using and containing advanced technology - with a high standard of living and good wages. And China is going to swamp us wth implemented technology. We are doing our damnedest to fall behind.

 

Let me suggest a cause. We want to believe, not KNOW. We are turning into an ideological society that is more interested in winning a political or social argument than understand the logic is flawed. As long as OUR 'brand' wins the argument we feel justified. I believe we are sacrificing our future by playing blame games and investing in villifying others in order to justify our emotions, some of which are simply a matter of 'brand identification'. Farmers do it all the time.

 

The result? We are having trouble formulating policies based on knowledge and facts. And many seem to think that is just fine. Feeling superior is better than being effective by listening and collecting facts and knowing how to follow the logic - come what may. We will dump the logic in order to get to a conclusion we want to arrive at. Driving big guzzling 4wd SUV's in town was partly a symptom of that. Consequences or logic had no bearing. As a thinking nation we have become largely infantile.

 

 

 

 

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