The House Committee on Agriculture’s Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry heard firsthand the challenges the livestock and poultry industries face and expect to face in the coming years because of tight feed grain supplies. The hearing came on the heels of a U.S. Department of Agriculture World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates report that projected this year’s corn crop will be 417 million bushels lower than initial estimates.
Tight corn supplies, which have been affected by bad weather and rising demand, particularly from the ethanol industry, have pushed prices to nearly $7.50 a bushel and prompted concerns about possible feed grain shortages.
Representatives from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, National Turkey Federation, National Chicken Council and the American Feed Industry Association, who testified before the subcommittee, issued the following statements subsequent to the hearing:
“While U.S. corn usage for food and industrial purposes other than ethanol have remained relatively constant since 2008, the amount of corn used for ethanol has increased eight-fold, with three-quarters of that increase occurring since 2005,” said Steve Meyer on behalf of NCBA.
“It is a real possibility that next year corn will need to be rationed, and NPPC believes that rationing ought to be applied to all corn users, including the ethanol industry,” said NPPC Vice President Randy Spronk. “The ethanol industry is using more and more of the nation’s corn supply. This year it is expected to overtake livestock and poultry producers as the largest user of corn. But its growth has been driven almost entirely by the Renewable Fuels Standard mandate, which makes no provision for short corn supplies.”
“America’s farmers and ranchers and the industries which serve them can’t compete against federal biofuel subsidies, outdated land-use programs or unfettered institutional speculation in the futures markets,” said Joel G. Newman, president and CEO of the American Feed Industry Association. “The U.S. feed industry is the single largest buyer and user of feed grains, oilseeds, processed meals and byproducts, and its production represents 70 percent of producing safe, affordable meat, poultry, dairy and eggs. The Administration and Congress must make policy changes now; otherwise, they will have a much bigger problem – an inability to put affordable food the tables of the American people.”
South East AgNet/ United States.