For Immediate Release: Oct. 5, 2011
Contact: Carmen Fenton, 512-469-0171
FORT WORTH, TEXAS – The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) today strongly supported a bill that would alter the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by linking the amount of required corn-based ethanol to the amount of U.S. corn supplies.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Jim Costa (D-Calif.), calls for a twice-yearly review of the ratio of corn stocks to expected use, based on the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) U.S. corn supplies report. In years with tight corn supplies, there could be a reduction made to the RFS.
“Cattlemen do not support the federal government subsidizing and mandating corn-based ethanol. The corn-based ethanol industry should play on the same free-market playing field as the cattle industry,” said Joe Parker Jr., rancher and TSCRA president.
“This bill is a step in that direction. It only makes sense that the level of corn-based ethanol required to help meet the RFS be in line with the amount of U.S. corn available—rather than an arbitrary, unreachable amount mandated by the federal government,” said Parker.
Currently, the ethanol industry is subsidized by a government-mandated production number that requires a set amount of ethanol be produced on an annual basis, most of which comes from corn. This production amount is required regardless of the amount of corn available. The result is a much lower supply of corn for livestock and poultry producers.
More corn diverted to ethanol has meant higher prices for feed and ultimately lower prices offered to cow-calf producers. This is especially true during times of extreme drought, when corn supplies are tight and/or cattle need to be fed more.
According to information from Rep. Goodlatte, during the 2004-2005 crop year, the last crop produced before the RFS was implemented, 53.4 percent of the crop went to feed livestock and poultry and 12.5 percent went toward ethanol production. In contrast, the 2011 corn crop is projected to send 40 percent toward ethanol production and 37.6 percent to the livestock and poultry feed supply.
Goodlatte says that this will be the first year ever that ethanol production has used more than feeding livestock and poultry in the U.S.
“It has become very clear that putting our food and fuel in competition with one another is bad for cattle raisers,” Parker said. “Texas cattle raisers support renewable energy and a lessened dependence on foreign oil; however such an investment should not sacrifice our nation’s food supply.”
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 79.5 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.