In response to media coverage and Capitol briefings on the drought, food prices and the Renewable Fuel Standard, NCGA President Garry Niemeyer released the following statement:
“This is a time when farmers and ranchers are suffering the nation’s worst drought in years, covering nearly two-thirds of our country’s land mass. Like any crisis, it has led to numerous inaccuracies and exaggerations, especially when it comes to the impact on food supply and retail food prices.
“Yesterday at the White House, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack noted that farmers only receive a fraction -- about 14 cents -- of every dollar spent on food at the grocery store. Look at corn, for example, which even at its current price is an inexpensive food ingredient. The corn in a box of Corn Flakes only costs about a dime, and there’s just over a quarter’s worth of corn in a pound of beef.
“When it comes to the Renewable Fuel Standard for ethanol and other biofuels, now is not the time for changes. It’s working. The RFS is revitalizing rural America, reducing our dependence on foreign fuel and reducing the cost of gasoline. Making changes to the RFS now would only ensure that consumers suffer due to significantly higher fuel prices.
“And while it is true that our corn crop is suffering, it’s still in the field. We won’t know the actual size of the 2012 corn crop until months from now. In the meantime, the market is working. All corn users are responding to market signals. Ethanol production and exports are down. In addition, there is currently an ethanol surplus in the United States that will further reduce demand on the 2012 corn crop.
“Given the challenges of the drought and suffering of all farmers, now more than ever, U.S. agriculture needs to pull together. NCGA will continue to help lead the way in trying to unite, rather than divide, American agriculture.”