What is in this article?:
- The national media sensationalizes corn supply issues and reports misinformation.
- The current drought is easily the worst in our lifetimes, and many will suffer because of it. In particular, the livestock industry is being hard hit and with high feed prices and short supplies.
Starving the poor
5. Higher corn prices are starving poor people around the world. Wrong yet again! Just the opposite is true. There is more corn available in the rest of the world than there has been in many years. This is because higher prices worldwide have stimulated more grain production in countries that could not afford to produce when prices were low. Much of the poor in the world are rural residents. They are benefiting from higher prices for the products they produce and are investing in new technology because they are making money. Ethanol has driven this boom and benefited grain producers in Brazil, Argentina, India, The Philippines, Thailand, South Africa, Zimbabwe and so on. The rising tide has raised many boats. In fact, the United States may even import corn from Brazil this year. This is a natural consequence of the market and economics working.
We empathize with those who are victims of this devastating drought. Corn producers who do not raise a crop do not benefit from higher prices. They are victims as well. Corn producers know that $8 corn is not sustainable and serves to destroy the demand that they have long worked to help develop. Much investment by the U.S. corn sector has gone into supporting and promoting the U.S. livestock industry. They are indeed our best customers, and indeed many of our growers raise livestock and are hit by higher prices and reduced feed availability. We feel their pain.
In turn, we feel the pain of the ethanol industry. More than 20 ethanol plants have had to shut down or significantly cut back in response to high corn prices. And the losses in the export market due to current high prices will take years to regain.
We need to close ranks in agriculture and work to dig out of this hole. We need to insist that the right messages and correct information is being communicated and hold the national news media to a higher standard of accuracy as they describe our industry.