Record corn supply approaches

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) predicted that American farmers would produce the second largest corn crop in U.S. history, falling just short of 13 billion bushels. On average, USDA is predicting corn yields to be 159.5 bushels per acre, the second highest yield ever realized by American farmers. Adding in supplies carried over from last year, the corn supply for the 2009 marketing year is anticipated to be 14.5 billion bushels, the highest level on record.

“American farmers are the subject of numerous erroneous and ill-informed attacks, yet they shrug those off to continue providing food, feed, and fuel for the nation,” said Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen. “Technological advancements in both the seed and in the field are allowing farmers to produce more per acre, while using fewer inputs such as fertilizer and diesel fuel. There can be no doubt that we are fully capable of meeting the food and feed obligations we have to the world while simultaneously helping break our addiction to foreign oil.”

Often, big food processors, environmental extremists and others are quick to blame farmers and America’s ethanol producers for stealing food out of the mouths of people while forcing new cropland to come into production in environmentally sensitive regions of the world. However, this crop report reaffirms their claims to be the hyperbolic rhetoric many reasonable people suspected.

According to USDA, the near record corn crop will be accompanied by a record-setting soybean crop in the U.S.

“The notion that an acre of corn used for ethanol production in the U.S. triggers the clearing of an acre of rainforest in Brazil simply doesn’t pass the sniff test,” said Dinneen. “With both U.S. corn and soybean crops at or near record highs, it is abundantly clear that American agriculture and biofuel production is not responsible for the loss of environmentally-sensitive land half the world away. That’s just plain common sense, a characteristic too often lacking in this debate.”

USDA also estimated that 4.2 billion bushels of the projected 12.8 billion bushel corn crop would be used in ethanol production. Using ethanol industry averages, such a usage would represent 11.76 billion gallons of ethanol and more than 32 million metric tons of distillers grains, the livestock feed coproduct of ethanol production.

Note: USDA works on the marketing year, which begins on Sept. 1, 2009 and runs through Aug. 2010.

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