Ethanol and the Demand for Corn

By March 30, 2007 Corn One Comment

Today’s biggest story in agriculture suggests that this might be the most important year for commercial corn suppliers since the forties. The ever-growing buzz around alternative fuel sources has farmers all over the country hustling to meet the expected demand for corn to produce ethanol. [1]

Many are giving up valuable rice, cotton, and soy space to accommodate the new corn crops. Ethanol seems to be very trendy, and many auto makers have already designed and manufactured several vehicles that run on an ethanol/gas mixture.

There are many opponents of this particular bio-fuel who believe that it doesn’t solve any of the problems that bio-fuels are supposed to solve. Even Fidel Castro recently broke months of media silence to condemn President Bush and Brazil for their joint ethanol ventures [2]. The opponents believe that better options exist, and ethanol’s growing popularity is misguided. The top arguments center around the inefficiency of ethanol as a fuel source for automobiles (even the proponents estimate a 10% to 15% drop in mpg from regular unleaded gasoline [3]), the environmental impact of producing the fuel, and the costs and shortages created in the agricultural market. [4][5]

Beyond all of the politics, the immediate result for the rest of us will be a raise in the price of corn, and any of the other displaced crops. The price of corn is already well above previous years, and if the demand continues to grow we may start to notice prices of products from other crops starting to go up very soon.

If you haven’t already guessed, I’ll give you the Park Seed answer for avoiding all of this mess. Grow your own produce. They are safe, not chemically treated, cheaper than fresh produce, and you can grow exactly what you want instead of relying on the supermarket’s dismal selection. Park Seed’s Vegetable Seeds

  1. Ethanol Deman Boosts Corn Planting from the Associated Press via Yahoo! News

  2. Castro Emerges to Slam Bush on Ethanol From “Autopia” in the Wired magazine blog network

  3. National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition- FAQs

  4. The Limits of Ethanol from The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via Bend Weekly

  5. Ethanol- Burning Money and Oil

Thomas Andrews
Park Seed Company


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