Yesterday, the Chicago Tribune published a poorly written and poorly researched editorial about ethanol.

Though we are never shocked by the Tribune’s liberal use of the word unbiased, we did feel that the claims made in the article bear some further scrutiny … and to do so, I just have to channel SNL’s Seth Myers and Amy Poehler.

Seriously, Chicago Tribune?  The Renewable Fuels Standard is bad for consumers and bad for the marketplace?  Seriously?

I think we all need a baseline education about what the American fuel marketplace looks like today.  Oil receives massive subsidies to maintain the American appetite for petroleum.  Ethanol does not receive a penny in direct cash outlay.  This is as close to a monopoly as you will ever see, with the oil industry even dictating what independent retailers can sell at their stations.

The Renewable Fuels Standard, mentioned at the end of this editorial, is simply a law that allows other fuels to overcome the marketplace the oil industry has built for themselves by forcing them to allow renewable, cheaper energy sources into the market.

Seriously.  Buying ethanol would be the choice many consumers would make if the choice were offered.  Seriously, Trib.  Seriously.  Why, you ask?

Ethanol is running about 60 cents cheaper right now.   Given the laws of economics, consumers will buy cheaper fuel.  Thus oil’s continual efforts to muddy the good name of our home grown fuel; it’s obvious that they got ahold of the Trib.

And seriously, it is true that farmers can and have chosen to plant corn on their acres … and why shouldn’t they?  Seriously, Chicago Tribune … you just raised your prices in April to reflect a changing economic environment.  Shouldn’t farmers also be allowed to make changes in their business that offer them a profit?  Farmers are not only about the bottom line and would not change their business plan such that their resources were damaged.  But they also need to have a bottom line large enough to feed their families.

And, by the way, that bottom line also trickles through the rural communities, and has helped keep rural economies from tanking the way that much of the U.S. has this decade.  The ethanol market, offering growing demand for our commodity, has buoyed rural communities while the rest of the economy has been in a downward spiral.

I’m not naive and I understand that corn-based ethanol isn’t the next messiah, but I do give credit where credit is due, a trait that obviously the Chicago Tribune does not endorse.  I understand that there will be a next generation fuel to improve on ethanol, or there will be improvements to the ethanol process, the corn production cycle, and maybe many more.

That’s what agriculture does.  Using science, we continually get better, produce more, lower the footprint, increase efficiency.  We will overcome the weed or disease of the year (Goss’s Wilt) and we will continue to deliver for the world consumer.

Seriously, Chicago Tribune?  This is the best unbiased news you can report?  Seriously?

mitchell_lindsayLindsay Mitchell
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Director

About corncorps

As Illinois' corn farmers, we're proud to power a sustainable economy through ethanol, livestock and nutritious food. We love agriculture, the land and CornBelters baseball.See or follow us on Twitter,
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  1. John Smith says:

    Name one subsidy oil gets that other businesses don’t get in some form. There aren’t any. How are mandates that we use ethanol giving consumers a choice? Ethanol and the RFS have caused farmers to switch from other crops to corn. The price of corn and everything has exploded as a result of this market tampering. The ethanol groups keep paying people to spin their story and feed people half truths and lies to keep the government payouts coming, while the livestock producers, taxpayers and consumers get screwed.

    • corncorps says:

      John, we believe that the corn industry has worked hard to create market demand for our product. This HAS increased corn prices, to the benefit of corn farmers, rural America, and the economy of the U.S. that has an agricultural foundation. Livestock farmers have had to endure higher priced corn, but just because they got the privilege of extremely low priced corn for decades, is this wrong? The RFS allows ethanol into the marketplace, giving customers a choice to buy lower priced fuel. And, by the way, giving gasoline retailers the choice to capture tax incentives for selling it … in IL anyway.

  2. Karen says:

    @John Smith, since when is it not ok for farmers to make a profit? Do you not remember the 80’s? While many farmers suffered at the hands of producing below cost many others benefited. We survived on next to nothing. REALLY JOHN SMITH, REALLY? Big oil pays people to spin their story….at our expense.

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