Saturday, February 03, 2007

Alas, Babylon...

I have noticed a common theme in recent critiques of the ethanol explosion that have deluged the media is recent days: few of them seem to think the push can be derailed.

Not that any of these facts are likely to make much difference in the current Washington debate. The corn and sugar lobbies have their roots deep in both parties, and now they have the mantra of "energy independence" to invoke, however illusory it is. If anything, Congress may add to Mr. Bush's ethanol mandate requests.

So here comes Big Corn. Make that Very, Very Big Corn. Sooner or later, our experience with this huge public gamble may make us yearn for the efficiency, capacity, lower cost and--yes--superior environmental record of "Big Oil." [More]

While this tone usually implies intellectual condescension, another way to read it is there isn't much in the way of corn growers getting what they think they want - enormous, persistent demand for corn, forcing higher prices despite market forces to the contrary.

So while subsidy foes, formerly important customers, environmentalists, and political pundits pronounce their jeremiads, I haven't seen anybody offer to jump in front this runaway juggernaut.

"Ethanol was always seen as an 8-year-old kid that needed to be taken care of, but now it's a 27-year-old graduate student with a Ph.D from Harvard that wants to live at home with mom and dad," said Michael Swanson, vice president and agricultural economist at Wells Fargo. [More]
Well, shoot - we can handle complainers. Just ignore 'em.

Still, in our hearts, we corn growers know we better get all we can while we can.

What an uplifting professional credo.

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