High cost of feed hits livestock farmers

  • Article by: MIKE HUGHLETT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 8, 2012 - 8:20 PM

The summer drought drove up corn and soybean prices, and livestock producers have felt the effect.

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splinedDec. 9, 12 7:05 AM

Ethanol - putting the milk and livestock farmers out of business, burying the middle class, and sentencing the poor to food stamps.

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splinedDec. 9, 12 7:07 AM

The clueless and or corrupt congress ever fixated on re-election has chosen to be oblivious to the economic carnage it is creating with the unfair and inequitable crop insurance schemes. It should be obvious to everyone that targeting the largest and most profitable farm businesses with the largest investment and income guarantees grants these operations with an overwhelmingly competitive edge in a highly competitive business. It should be noted that many of these operations have little or minimal land costs and that government has no business guaranteeing ever increasing land values with insurance schemes that cover land costs. It should also be obvious that smaller farm operations targeted with no or minimal government benefits have little or no chance of competing in such an economic environment. Considering the stratospheric levels to which land values have escalated it should be obvious to all that extreme government income and investment guarantees are capitalized into land values and that government has no business targeting the wealthiest with multimillion dollar business benefits and billions in insurance subsidies.

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gary357Dec. 9, 12 7:35 AM

I agree with Splined. Ethanol has had a far greater effect on the price of corn than the drought.

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jackpinesavDec. 9, 12 8:36 AM

Ethanol?? Didn't Tim of the banking lobby really think that was cool 8 years ago? And the repubs in Congress hold up the farm bill, worst drought in generations, in an election year. Farmers, and rural people, have NO clout in Washington and the farm belt voted with Willard..to keep going off the cliff.

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quadrant5Dec. 9, 12 9:47 AM

On my families' diverse farm we just roll along with what nature gives us. We sold all the hogs and reduced dairy cow numbers. Now, instead of feeding all the corn we can grow to our livestock we only feed two/thirds and sell one/third to the ethanol plant. Ethanol gives us income options we did not have before.

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cavellDec. 9, 1212:31 PM

"sell our corn to ethanol plant"? Yes, the farmer admits to getting more profit from corn by selling to ethanol plant vs producing food. Thus, raising price of corn so beef producer looses money selling beef to price conscious consumer. Remember consumer bases sole buying decision on low price.

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neilgdDec. 9, 12 2:19 PM

Ya know we pay hundreds of billions of dollars every year to guarantee a safe supply of oil from the Persian Gulf (say nothing of the lives lost in doing so), billions more to American oil companies drilling in the Gulf and elsewhere around our country. Yet nothing seems to make people angrier than farmers making money from corn used for ethanol. If people were spending half of their income on food, as they do in many countries around the world, I could see their point. But we spend less as a percentage of our income on food than almost any country in the world. Apparently you'd rather keep lining the pockets of Arab sheiks than keep the money here in this country.

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didwiddelerDec. 9, 12 3:28 PM

This summer's drought has renewed a decades-long battle, with corn prices reaching record highs and the head of the United Nation's food and agriculture organization joining the call for a yearlong suspension of the ethanol requirement. But suspending the mandate for ethanol use could have a smaller effect on the price of corn than people seem to believe and potentially would have no impact at all, said University of Illinois agricultural economists Scott Irwin and Darrell Goode. "The EPA does not necessarily have the ability to substantially ease the plight of livestock producers in 2012-2013 at the stroke of a pen," they concluded in an August analysis. That is consistent with recent studies from Iowa State University and Purdue University. "Psychologically, you might see a decline in corn prices, but as a practical matter, the country will still use the same amount of ethanol we had planned to use this year anyway," said oil industry consultant Andy Lipow, head of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston. A third of the gasoline in the country still would need to have ethanol regardless because of other federal, state and local clean air rules, particularly in the big cities of the East and West coasts. Elsewhere in the nation, refiners often produce gas with an octane rating of 84 and then rely on ethanol to boost it up to the regular 87 octane sold at the pump, Lipow said. That is not likely to stop right away, he said. Ethanol also is cheaper than gas, and the savings is passed on to consumers at the gas pump, Lipow and other energy analysts said. "The ethanol is so engrained in the system. So it's not entirely clear that the refiners would want to stop adding it," said Kilduff of Again Capital, who figured gas would cost about 15 cents more per gallon if ethanol were not blended into it. Source: Lincoln Journal Star

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splinedDec. 9, 12 7:00 PM

didwiddeler - don't believe every thing you hear or read about ethanol. If ethanol was such a great fuel, why don't ethanol plants run on ethanol? After all ethanol should be readily available at ethanol plants shouldn't it?

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didwiddelerDec. 9, 1210:05 PM

splined- when major universities do years of research and come up with the same conclusion, I'm gonna tend to believe them, not you.

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