Way OT: Corn, Ethanol and our grocery bill

Way OT: Corn, Ethanol and our grocery bill

Nighthawke
Nighthawke

July 24th, 2012, 3:48 pm #1

Right now as you have probably read the news, a major drought has decimated our corn production in the Midwest and speculators are calling for skyrocketing prices across the board on all corn-based products. This is a severe situation, especially for livestock feed for beef and pork producers. There is some speculation on my behalf that some products made directly from corn itself may become difficult to find on the shelf as a result. The bottom line is that your grocery budget is going to get a major thrashing because the cost of corn-derived ingredients, including corn syrups, are going to rise considerably.

One of the major hogs of corn right now is ethanol and the production of it must be cut severely to forestall and prevent any kind of inflation on the markets for more important foodstuffs. Make contact with your local congresscritters today and urge them to create and pass bills authorizing or ordering curtailment of the production and use of corn and corn-based ingredients in non-vital products, like ethanol until normal crop production levels are attained again.

To be frank, this frightens me more than the backlash of the '08 crash...
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Snowtroll
Snowtroll

July 24th, 2012, 4:40 pm #2

Who the H! decided that Ethanol made from food-grade plants was a good/green idea?

No matter what they say, Ethanol is NOT a solution, at least not on a large scale.
For a farm to use some of their 'excess' production for fuel for their own machinery, that might make sense, but when the entire production of a farm goes to Ethanol, then what?
(It wouldn't surprise me that if you study all steps of the production, from planting to it's ready to mix in with the ordinary fuel, you end up with higher CO2 numbers than with ordinary fuels)

They'd get better results if they started banning some of the worst fuel-hogs out there.
(Maybe a $100 price on Hummer drivers? Should reduce the CO2 production considerbly... just remember, headshots won't work. No vital organs... )

I'd mention the Ford F-series among the hogs, but there are actually a few of those that are in use by people who need that kind of vehicle. (Only a few, though)

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hp_lovecraft
hp_lovecraft

July 24th, 2012, 10:16 pm #3

Lots of countries charge a penalty tax on luxury cars, and cars that have poor mpg. But its always looked as a money making scheme for government, since it has no impact on what people actually drive.

In your scenerio, who gets to decide who deserves to own a large truck or SUV? We have a suburban and certaintly do need it. We shouldnt have to justify it to anyone else.

Gas prices are what they are. Oil will never run out, but will gradually become more and more expensive to extract. Eventually other methods will become financially viable. Personally, I imagine in a 100 years we are using safe nuclear fission/fusion reactors to generate massive amounts of hydrogen fuel for cars/etc.

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MephitMark
MephitMark

July 25th, 2012, 12:18 am #4

Right now as you have probably read the news, a major drought has decimated our corn production in the Midwest and speculators are calling for skyrocketing prices across the board on all corn-based products. This is a severe situation, especially for livestock feed for beef and pork producers. There is some speculation on my behalf that some products made directly from corn itself may become difficult to find on the shelf as a result. The bottom line is that your grocery budget is going to get a major thrashing because the cost of corn-derived ingredients, including corn syrups, are going to rise considerably.

One of the major hogs of corn right now is ethanol and the production of it must be cut severely to forestall and prevent any kind of inflation on the markets for more important foodstuffs. Make contact with your local congresscritters today and urge them to create and pass bills authorizing or ordering curtailment of the production and use of corn and corn-based ingredients in non-vital products, like ethanol until normal crop production levels are attained again.

To be frank, this frightens me more than the backlash of the '08 crash...
Years ago I remember thinking that ethanol was the answer to fueling automobiles and earnings for farmers.

Then I started to realizing all that is needed to produce ethanol, and the cost involved. Ever since I have argued fervently against ethanol. But unfortunately there is politics involved and the now never ending nightmare of ethanol.
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Nohbody
Nohbody

July 25th, 2012, 12:58 am #5

Lots of countries charge a penalty tax on luxury cars, and cars that have poor mpg. But its always looked as a money making scheme for government, since it has no impact on what people actually drive.

In your scenerio, who gets to decide who deserves to own a large truck or SUV? We have a suburban and certaintly do need it. We shouldnt have to justify it to anyone else.

Gas prices are what they are. Oil will never run out, but will gradually become more and more expensive to extract. Eventually other methods will become financially viable. Personally, I imagine in a 100 years we are using safe nuclear fission/fusion reactors to generate massive amounts of hydrogen fuel for cars/etc.
Who decides?

Why our betters in the political elite class, of course. They alone know what's good for the hoi polloi, and those private chartered jets they fly all over to vacation spots for their conferences are all proper uses of resources to manage a populace too stupid to operate a blanket.

/sarcasm

(or realism, take your pick)
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50blues
50blues

July 25th, 2012, 1:39 am #6

Years ago I remember thinking that ethanol was the answer to fueling automobiles and earnings for farmers.

Then I started to realizing all that is needed to produce ethanol, and the cost involved. Ever since I have argued fervently against ethanol. But unfortunately there is politics involved and the now never ending nightmare of ethanol.
... are now saying we should not use ethanol as a fuel substitute. The combination of taking the food out of our supply, the extra use of electricity, and the loss in fuel milage in the vehicles is actually worse for the environment then the oil it is replacing.
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smorizio
smorizio

July 25th, 2012, 2:40 am #7

Right now as you have probably read the news, a major drought has decimated our corn production in the Midwest and speculators are calling for skyrocketing prices across the board on all corn-based products. This is a severe situation, especially for livestock feed for beef and pork producers. There is some speculation on my behalf that some products made directly from corn itself may become difficult to find on the shelf as a result. The bottom line is that your grocery budget is going to get a major thrashing because the cost of corn-derived ingredients, including corn syrups, are going to rise considerably.

One of the major hogs of corn right now is ethanol and the production of it must be cut severely to forestall and prevent any kind of inflation on the markets for more important foodstuffs. Make contact with your local congresscritters today and urge them to create and pass bills authorizing or ordering curtailment of the production and use of corn and corn-based ingredients in non-vital products, like ethanol until normal crop production levels are attained again.

To be frank, this frightens me more than the backlash of the '08 crash...
as someone that used to work on a farm...this year feed was made last year...the feed prices should go up a little bit as there more people know ordering feed then in dec and jan in a normal year. the problem with big swings is the spot markets that are not using real life numbers..feed will be bought from Canada and other country's that have extra feed to sell. same thing for corn flakes and rice..large vendors are not buying rice and corn right now...they use the spot markets months ago. the issue now is hopefully the feds will step in and give aid to the farmers so that they can replant and survive for the spring planting. most farms when they go under some of them end up as stip malls or homes.
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Snowtroll
Snowtroll

July 25th, 2012, 5:14 am #8

Lots of countries charge a penalty tax on luxury cars, and cars that have poor mpg. But its always looked as a money making scheme for government, since it has no impact on what people actually drive.

In your scenerio, who gets to decide who deserves to own a large truck or SUV? We have a suburban and certaintly do need it. We shouldnt have to justify it to anyone else.

Gas prices are what they are. Oil will never run out, but will gradually become more and more expensive to extract. Eventually other methods will become financially viable. Personally, I imagine in a 100 years we are using safe nuclear fission/fusion reactors to generate massive amounts of hydrogen fuel for cars/etc.
Who told you that?

The Easter bunny or Santa Claus?

Most of the big fields in production now has already 'peaked' and have declining production numbers.

The fields that aren't in production isn't because they're darn difficult to reach.

Tarsand projects, which only give a 5:1 return on expended energy is now considered 'economically viable production'.

Luxury taxes on cars doesn't work.
It just turns those cars into even bigger status symbols, it seems.
(Can anyone even think of a GOOD reason to own a Hummer?)

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Stu Friedberg
Stu Friedberg

July 25th, 2012, 5:38 am #9

Who the H! decided that Ethanol made from food-grade plants was a good/green idea?

No matter what they say, Ethanol is NOT a solution, at least not on a large scale.
For a farm to use some of their 'excess' production for fuel for their own machinery, that might make sense, but when the entire production of a farm goes to Ethanol, then what?
(It wouldn't surprise me that if you study all steps of the production, from planting to it's ready to mix in with the ordinary fuel, you end up with higher CO2 numbers than with ordinary fuels)

They'd get better results if they started banning some of the worst fuel-hogs out there.
(Maybe a $100 price on Hummer drivers? Should reduce the CO2 production considerbly... just remember, headshots won't work. No vital organs... )

I'd mention the Ford F-series among the hogs, but there are actually a few of those that are in use by people who need that kind of vehicle. (Only a few, though)
> Who the H! decided that Ethanol made from food-grade plants was a good/green idea?

While I now live in the Pacific Northwest, I come from corn country. Actually, corn, soybeans and cattle. From an ecological perspective, gasohol with the ethanol coming from corn is a really stupid idea. It is pretty close to an energy wasting process, before you even consider the water and nutrient inputs. I have seen one analysis stating there is a net LOSS of 54,000 BTU per gallon of gasohol, based on the fuel costs to produce the ethanol. It is, however, a wonderful indirect subsidy for corn farmers and processors and harder to attack politically than just giving them grants.

If you haven't noticed, last year the ethanol lobby got the EPA and FTC to allow a 50% increase in the quantity of ethanol in gasohol. That's what the switch from E10 to E15 is all about. For better or worse, E15 pumps are supposed to be clearly labeled with a warning sticker.

While gasohol with the ethanol coming from switch grass or some similar biomass would be a more efficient and ecologically sounder process, you don't see too much traction on it. That's due to a combination of the economics and the entrenched interests. After all, gasohol wasn't intended to be green. It was intended to funnel money to a particular group of recipients.
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OmniMech
OmniMech

July 25th, 2012, 7:06 am #10

... are now saying we should not use ethanol as a fuel substitute. The combination of taking the food out of our supply, the extra use of electricity, and the loss in fuel milage in the vehicles is actually worse for the environment then the oil it is replacing.
...are always telling us we shouldn't be doing/using/mining/logging something or other, but usually offer no workable alternatives. They're good at telling you what you are 'doing wrong', but that's about it.
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