Just recently, US' Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was asked by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association to cut down on current corn ethanol production goals. Apparently, failure to do so may lead to the country's being faced with a food crisis.
As explained in the petition signed by the aforementioned coalition of meat and poultry organizations, it is crucial to cut down on renewable fuels production in order to safeguard the nation's agricultural industry, which has already been severely crippled by the ongoing drought.
The Association's official website
quotes farmer John Burkel, who speaks from his own experience and argues that, “The EPA granting a waiver from the RFS [Renewable Fuels Standard] is needed now. This is the only immediate relief for this country’s livestock and poultry producers.”
Furthermore, “We need to stabilize the markets. The reality is, at these volatile, high prices, even the most prudent, cautious farmer can find themselves out of business.”
The rationale behind this petition is as follows: in order for the US to meet this year's and 2013's RFSs, a total of 9.6 billion bushels (roughly 0.33 bn cubic meters) of corn will have to go into producing ethanol.
Given the fact that, in 2012, American farmers will only manage to harvest around 12 billion bushels (about 0.42 bn cubic meters) – and odds are they won't be any luckier in 2013 –, this means that corn ethanol production will “eat away” at about 40% of the country's overall corn production.
Naturally, this can easily translate into a food crisis, as those raising livestock are quite likely to no longer be able to fend for the animals.
Michael Welch from Harrison Poultry in Bethlehem, Ga. makes a case of how, “Relief from the RFS is extremely urgent. This very short corn crop will undoubtedly prove to be devastating to the animal agriculture industry, food manufacturers, foodservice providers and consumers.”
From where we stand, although switching to greener industries and a green-oriented economy are indeed things each nation should strive to achieve, it is also crucial that said aspects are also given due consideration.