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Ethanol Boom Divides Farmers, Ranchers

by 5m Editor
9 January 2007, at 10:02am

SALT LAKE CITY - From corn fields to Wall Street, enthusiasm for ethanol is at an all-time high. But not everyone is enthusiastic.

The sun rises while a John Deere combine sitting parked on a freshly harvested corn field with acres of corn left to harvest Saturday, Sept. 9, 2006, near Ashland, Ill. From corn fields to Wall Street, enthusiasm for ethanol is at an all-time high. But not everyone is enthusiastic. Demand for the corn-based fuel is driving up the cost of feed corn, making it more expensive to feed cows, chickens and pigs.

Demand for the corn-based fuel is driving up the cost of feed corn, making it more expensive to feed cows, chickens and pigs.

"It's hard to see where the future is, if corn keeps going up," said Kerby Barker, a cattle rancher in southwestern Wyoming. "Anytime you jack up the price of fuel, anytime you jack up the price of corn, it just drives up our bottom line."

Long-term, it could drive up the cost of food, which is alarming to meat producers and food companies.

Like many ranchers, Barker questions the 51-cent-a-gallon tax credit created by Congress to encourage growth of the ethanol industry.

"The feeling in our area is that all the subsidies going to support ethanol production is really hurting livestock production," Barker said.

A potential split is in evidence this week during the annual meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation this week in Salt Lake City. Farm Bureau is the country's largest general-interest agriculture group.

Source: Wyoming News

5m Editor