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#276646 - 04/13/08 10:03 PM The true cost of biofuels - grim reading

#276652 - 04/13/08 10:24 PM Re: The true cost of biofuels - grim reading [Re: ]
H20dog Offline

Edited by H20dog (04/13/08 10:26 PM)

#276655 - 04/13/08 10:34 PM Re: The true cost of biofuels - grim reading [Re: H20dog]
The Star article starts by saying this happened "almost all of a sudden". And goes on to say food price rises (which have been massive and unsupportable in many areas of the world) are "not expected to be temporary".

Throughout Europe there has been a policy, certainly since Britain joined the EU in 1973, of reducing agricultural production and taking land permanently out of food production. It may not be long before the major error of that policy becomes clear.

#276662 - 04/13/08 10:47 PM Re: The true cost of biofuels - grim reading [Re: ]
H20dog Offline
Rice is the staple of half the worlds population......it appears that the rice producing nations of the world are protecting their own populations food supply rather than exporting it.


#276665 - 04/13/08 11:13 PM Re: The true cost of biofuels - grim reading [Re: H20dog]
H20dog Offline
It appears that the US is the #1 food donor in the world, followed by the EU, China and Canada....


#276679 - 04/14/08 08:36 AM Re: The true cost of biofuels - grim reading [Re: H20dog]
Otteralum Offline
This makes me very very angry... mad
I will have a Belikin -- put it on klcman's tab.

#276698 - 04/14/08 11:34 AM Re: The true cost of biofuels - grim reading [Re: Otteralum]
azbob Offline
Otter, more reason to consider your proposal under your thread: "Why couldn't this work???". I agree with you!
"Hold on Tight To Your Dreams" ELO

#276707 - 04/14/08 12:18 PM Re: The true cost of biofuels - grim reading [Re: azbob]
Rykat Offline
GOP - The Party of Lincoln.

#278974 - 05/01/08 11:43 PM Re: The true cost of biofuels - grim reading [Re: Rykat]
Dan Carey Offline
&nbsp pedro2,
don't believe everything you read. The synopsis of the article is "the USA is causing mass starvation by distilling their surplus grain into fuel, as opposed to donating it to the poor". You can't really be buying into that, can you?

&nbsp There seems to be an adjustment beginning in the macroeconomics of grain. Think supply vs demand. Right now, parts of the US grain harvest are being diverted to make fuel. That causes a rise in value of the grain, since demand has remained constant. The higher price will cause US farmers to plant more grain.

&nbsp We, as a nation have committed massive chunks of excellent cropland to the construction of cheap housing, from the basic tract homes to your standard McMansions. This land is out of production forever. There's no reversing this, so let's talk about a more realistic option to bring land into production quickly.

&nbsp We have a significant fraction of our cropland within the Conservation Reserve Program, or CRP, which is out of production today. This land has been utilized to grow grain in the past, so it's relatively easy to bring back into production. As more land becomes usable to grow grain, the supply-demand equation tilts back toward supply and prices come back down. The CRP Program is a $1.8B enterprise as of 2008. We should reconvert this land into farming.

&nbsp Let's talk about price controls. The government will guarantee an inflated price for crops, including grain, and then buy the surplus at the control price. In order to keep farm prices up, the US government buys those crops and dumps them on the world market, either as donated foodstuffs or at firesale prices. This is in no way helpful, since it has the effect of reducing worldwide farm production. Look at it this way: What farmer in Shakeyourbootystan is going to put the time and money into bringing new cropland into prodction when Uncle Sam is giving the grain away for less money than he can hope to make? Less production of grain means more dependance on Uncle Sam. What happens when Uncle Sam decides that he needs that grain for US consumption? Problems, big problems, since the world supply of grain is suddenly less than the demand. We should do away with price controls, which are essentially farm welfare.

&nbsp Famine is nothing new. We know what causes famine: A population outstrips its ability to grow enough crops to feed itself. Welcome to the twentyfirst century version of famine, caused by overpopulation and government blunders. The seeds of the current famine were sown, if you will, by well-meaning government programs. Oh, hey, that's nothing new, either. The Potato Famine was caused by similar pressures as the British Government converted Irish agriculture to potato production as a method of feeding its increasing population. They meant well, but the potato crop failed and there was no other crop to act as a safety net. 1/4 to 1/5 of the population of Ireland died and a like amount emigrated.

&nbsp Now, a compelling argument can be made that the US should continue to provide cheap grain to the world, even if the US taxpayers need the grain for ethanol. Another equally compelling argument is made that the US government's primary responsibility is to US citizens. Which argument do you think will win in 2008, an election year? Those who are hungry in Haiti don't vote for Hillary, Obama or McCain.

&nbsp Well, that concludes this rant. I am wearing my asbestos suit, so let the flames begin.

&nbsp &nbsp Dan

"Facts are the enemy of Truth"
Don Quixote

#278980 - 05/02/08 12:47 AM Re: The true cost of biofuels - grim reading [Re: Dan Carey]
KC Jayhawk Offline
No good deed goes unpunished and efficiency breeds expectations. I agree, Dan, that America is the victim of its own largesse and productivity, and will be cast as the villain domestically if we increase production, especially for fuel, at the expense of CRP or decrease exports in support of internal markets.
When you find a big kettle of crazy, it's best not to stir it.

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