‘Biofool’ of the Year

Farm Policy

4/6/2011 6:24 AM

On April 1, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack was bestowed with a new award, “Biofool” of the year. The award was “presented” by the Friends of the Earth to criticize him about his support of ethanol and biofuel.

The group said he earned the award for “his efforts to promote dirty biofuels at the expense of a comprehensive agriculture policy that would help American farmers who grow food.”

Whether you agree or disagree with the distinction, the debate about corn, food prices and renewable energy is going to continue. Last month, the president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) had sharp words about a statement from the president of Nestle saying that ethanol was the cause for rising prices. The NCGA argues that if cost of food is the problem, how did Nestle have such strong profits.

“It is scandalous, ludicrous and highly irresponsible for the chairman of a global conglomerate that tripled its profits last year to talk about higher corn prices forcing millions into starvation,” NCGA President Bart Schott said on March 25. “Perhaps if Nestle is so concerned about food prices, its board will consider putting more of their $35.7 billion in 2010 profits back into poor communities. Just their profits alone represent more than half the entire farm value of the 2010 U.S. corn crop.”

And the food versus fuel debate continues as fuel prices remain high, corn stocks tight and the U.S. dollar keeps American farm products in demand in the international marketplace. What will farm policy look like? Only time will tell, but this discussion is far from over. .

To check out the announcement go to: www.biofoolsday.org/

For the full commentary from NCGA go to: http://www.ncga.com/ncga-billionaire-food-profiteers-wrong-call-farmers-immoral-3-25-11

-- Charlene Shupp Espenshade, Special Sections Editor

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