Nebraska Cattlemen adopts carefully scripted ethanol policy

US - Deftly moving through a gauntlet of cow-calf producers who also grow corn for feed and ethanol and feedlot operators who are paying more to buy corn, the Nebraska Cattlemen spent several hours at its recent annual convention crafting policy to address the repercussions of the fast-growing ethanol industry on cattle prices.
calendar icon 27 December 2006
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During several sessions of debate in committees and in their final resolution making session NC members crafted a carefully worded resolution that supports a transition to a market based approach for the production and usage of ethanol. In addition, NC resolved to oppose any additional federal or state mandates for ethanol usage and/or production.

The resolution included a lengthy preamble designed to ensure no group would be treated unfairly due to the complexity of the issue, including, "Whereas the availability of affordable, high quality feedstuffs is crucial to the profitability of the beef industry; and because the beef industry is competing with the ethanol industry for corn; and ethanol production can be a big benefit to ranchers, feeders and corn farmers if ethanol production transitions to a free market industry."

In addition, because dramatic corn price fluctuations are costly and disruptive to all parties, NC resolved to favor measures that would counter the effects of harmful trade actions that could be made by foreign oil producing countries.

Mutual benefit sought

The comments of the new NC president, Jay Wolf, Albion, reflected the inner conflict many cattlemen were having, since they knew some of their members were benefiting from higher corn prices due to ethanol expansion.

"One challenge is that the dramatic growth of ethanol production has increased corn prices, but has raised costs for those who feed byproducts from ethanol plants to cattle and, in turn, put pressure on feeder cattle prices," Wolf said following the resolution making.

Source: Journal
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