For Immediate Release: June 16, 2011
Contact: Carmen Fenton, 512-469-0171
FORT WORTH, TEXAS – The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) today applauded the U.S. Senate for voting to end government subsidies for corn-based ethanol, a move that will help level the playing field for all commodities that use corn including beef.
The amendment, introduced by Senators Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) repeals the 45-cent per gallon Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) and the 54-cent per gallon tariff on imported ethanol. It passed the Senate this afternoon by a vote of 73-27.
“The cattle industry is committed to energy independence and the development of renewable fuels; however, we can no longer afford to put our food and fuel in competition with one another,” said Joe Parker Jr., rancher and TSCRA president.
“We want to thank the Senate, especially Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison from Texas and Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn from Oklahoma for ending these subsidies,” Parker said.
Parker says that more U.S. corn-based ethanol policies have caused corn prices to increase by reducing the supply of corn available for livestock use.
“More corn diverted to ethanol production has meant higher prices for livestock feed and ultimately much lower prices offered to cattle producers. The artificial pressures created by the government for corn-based ethanol have taken a negative economic toll on livestock producers, which ultimately leads to more expensive food for consumers,” continued Parker.
Between 2005 and 2008, corn prices quadrupled and are more than $7 a bushel today. According to the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS), in 2008, feed costs for livestock, poultry and dairy reached a record high of $45.2 billion-an increase of more than $7 billion over 2007 costs.
Parker says this is especially of concern this year because corn supplies will be short, and 40 percent of this year’s corn crop is expected to be used for ethanol.
“These are not positive indicators as drought conditions continue to get worse and force the cattle industry to feed more and graze less,” said Parker.
“Cattle need corn, especially during times of severe drought and wildfire. While there is still work to be done, the Senate made great strides today that will help put more corn on the market for livestock producer,” Parker said.
The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association is a 134-year-old trade organization. As the largest and oldest livestock association in Texas, TSCRA represents more than 15,000 beef cattle producers, ranching families and businesses who manage approximately 4 million head of cattle on 51.5 million acres of range and pasture land, primarily in Texas and Oklahoma. TSCRA provides law enforcement and livestock inspection services, legislative and regulatory advocacy, industry news and information, insurance services and educational opportunities for its members and the industry.