Saturday, June 28, 2008


As corn growers mount a vigorous response to ethanol critics, they tend to identify them with as many buzzword labels as possible to disguise the fact that most are simply old customers who buy most of our product and have for generations.

What they are not doing is listening. They're incessantly telling THE FARMER'S STORY. Of course, only the corn farmer story. If they stopped to listen, they might reach some other conclusions.

Consider this comment from a feed buyer regarding my earlier post:
Mid-level livestock operations are in the cross-hairs. A multigenerational
NC Indiana hog operation (XXXX) is reported to have declared
bankruptcy this week, leaving a lot of contract growers holding the bag.
They were a well thought-of, concientious, hard working, dead honest
company to deal with. Apparently they were just a little lite on the risk
management and that was fatal this time around.

Many of us feed buyers have to paste on that (frozen) professional smile as
farmers complain about our wide basis while selling us $7.30 cash new crop
corn. The taste of ashes is what you may taste, but whatever it is, it is
very, very bitter. [my editing]
Perhaps most corn farmers are right and sacrificing livestock customers to ethanol production is the shrewd decision to make right now. I just can't get those numbers to work. We are about to engage in serious demand destruction just as ethanol (fairly or not) falls out of popular favor. This looks to me like trying to shoot both feet at once.

I think we will look back on what is about to unfold, and if nothing else, wish we had dropped the subsidies and mandates if for no other reason than to avoid the blame about to roll over us. If the markets were truly able to re-allocate this short crop, we could concentrate on growing corn, not argue about economic sensitivities.

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