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DAVID KRUSE

By Staff | Jun 17, 2011

You know that the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has gone crazy when you pick up an Iowa Farm newspaper and there is an editorial, provided to the paper by the NCBA, by California Sen., Dianne Feinstein, blasting ethanol.

Feinstein is a liberal idiot, yet she has now become the spokesperson for the NCBA? Feinstein doesn’t get her facts right, so her opinions will certainly be erroneous. She again erroneously writes that ethanol consumes 39 percent of the corn crop. It doesn’t.

Over a third of corn going into ethanol production flows through the process coming out as the co-product to ethanol, distiller’s dried grain. It is second only to corn as the largest quantity feedstuff in the U.S., so the net corn consumption of the ethanol production is nowhere near the 39 percent cited by Feinstein and the NCBA.

I rather doubt that there is any other issue that Feinstein and the NCBA agree upon. Both are ideological polar opposites and typically are loathe to be in the same room.

Personally, I think Feinstein is remarkably consistent in being wrong and this time for competitive reasons, the NCBA decided to use her. None of the facts she cited as to the cost of ethanol subsidies to taxpayers or jobs created are anywhere close to being accurate, but rather distorted, out of context.

If it were just the ethanol tax credit that the opposition is going after, understand that the industry has its own plan to eliminate it. That won’t be good enough for them because although the opposition claims ideological opposition to subsidies, that is just a ruse. Oklahoma’s senators, who have lead the effort to kill ethanol subsidies, support oil subsidies which are far more onerous and unjustifiable.

In a weak moment, one of them admitted to a regional bias and selective revulsion to subsidies. Ending ethanol subsidies won’t kill the ethanol industry and it is the opposition’s intent to do as much damage to the ethanol industry as it can.

Live and let live is not good enough for them. They want ethanol subsidies ended immediately to make a transition as difficult as possible and they want to decapitate the RFS and block E-15, too – in short, anything they can shoot, bludgeon or throw at the industry with intent to do severe bodily harm.

The ethanol industry has been the best thing to ever happen to Midwest agriculture. The Federal government will waste more tax dollars given to fiscally irresponsible Californians than was ever dreamed of benefiting ethanol, but Feinstein can’t be bothered with facts, she’s on a mission.

She is too uninformed to realize that there is no foreign ethanol to import so the ethanol tariff is meaningless. In fact, the U.S. is exporting ethanol to Brazil because of strong demand and short supply there.

The real stunner is their support for OPEC and higher gas prices, because that is precisely what ethanol opposition translates into. The ethanol industry has been one of the greatest creators of wealth for the heartland U.S. that I am aware of. It utilized burdensome stocks of corn, eliminated the need for traditional farm subsidies and allowed grain farmers to get paid by the market instead of grow corn for the government LDPs.

The conversion of corn to DDG as the co-product of the ethanol production process increased the supply of top quality feed for the cattle industry. We have seen numbers on feed grow in the Midwest were ethanol plants are concentrated with the region becoming the low-cost beef producer in the country.

The ethanol industry was one of the best things that has ever happened to the Midwest cattle feeding industry. So why then does the NCBA so aggressively oppose ethanol? Because it does not represent the Midwest cattle feeding industry.

It represents big feedlots in the same states like Texas and Oklahoma that also attack ethanol as Big Oil interests. The ethanol industry has been wonderful for Iowa and wonderful for Iowa cattlemen yet the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association has been totally ineffective in representing the interest of Iowa and Iowa cattlemen against the conflict of interest with the NCBA.

If the NCBA really thought the ICA cared, t would not be sponsoring California’s anti-ethanol editorials in the Iowa Farmer Today. The NCBA is doing what it is doing, representing the Southern Plains Feedlot Industry, because that is the NCBA. Texas and Oklahoma senators are representing oil interests.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) can’t do it all. The ICA should be outwardly and aggressively explaining the consequences of the NCBA’s attack on the Midwest cattle industry; but instead hass chosen to stand quietly and let NCBA do its damage.

The ICA almost imploded and collapsed a few years ago; then was brought back, saved by some hardworking individuals. It appears to be struggling again to get on task with its mission when that mission clearly conflicts with the region represented by the NCBA.

As it stands now, the ICA supports the NCBA whose new spokesperson, California liberal Sen. Diane Feinstein, is attacking ethanol and its partners, the Iowa Cattle Industry. That is pretty bad.

David Kruse is president of CommStock Investments Inc., author and producer of The CommStock Report, an ag commentary and market analysis available daily by radio and by subscription on DTN/FarmDayta and the Internet.

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