Rob Green’s recent Wall Street Journal op-ed “The cause of higher grocery bills isn’t the drought. It’s the failed federal ethanol policy” fails to take into consideration a host of factors, other than demand for corn, that affect food prices.
In the domestic and global markets commodity, labor, transportation, energy costs, processing, and marketing costs all contribute to what we pay for food in our local grocery store or restaurant. In some cases, factors such as higher oil prices affect one or more of these underlying costs producing higher domestic and world food prices. Read more »
At USDA we applaud today’s action by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that essentially completes the federal actions necessary to allow consumers to buy fuel containing up to 15 percent ethanol (E15). This announcement gets us one step closer to giving American consumers a real choice at the pump. It also supports the “all –of-the-above” energy strategy, including production of renewable biofuels, implemented by the Obama Administration to help wean us off of imported oil.
The public has a right to choose between spending their money on imported oil or home-grown energy. Today’s action by EPA helps break down the ethanol “blend wall” thereby potentially allowing more ethanol into the market. Iowa State University has estimated that blending ethanol with petroleum keeps the price per gallon at the pump down by around a dollar a gallon. This is a demonstration of the Obama Administration making good on its commitments to work to reduce foreign oil imports and increase domestic energy production. Read more »
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack responds to questions, with the assistance of Office of Communications Director of Web Communications Amanda Eamich, during the first Virtual Office hours live "Twitter" session held at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, April 4, 2012. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.
In the fast paced technology world there are a lot of firsts coming at us all the time. But if you had told me that I’d be present for the first ever USDA Virtual Office Hours on April 5, 2012, in our 150th year, I assure you I never would have believed you. The event allowed USDA, a department President Lincoln referred to as the People’s Department –– to reach hundreds of thousands of people, 140 characters at a time. What really struck me was how many insightful questions came in about energy and USDA, and, in particular, one that was asked on our Facebook page shortly before the hour long chat.
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America needs and is developing a reliable, sustainable, fuel supply. If we are able to produce more of it here at home – rather than relying on foreign oil – we’ll generate good, middle-class jobs and strengthen our economy in the long run. That is why USDA and the Obama administration are working with private industry to pursue an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy to promote American-produced renewable energy coupled with oil production.
Today, biofuels are being developed using not just corn, but corn stover, soybeans, switchgrass, wood, camelina, energy cane, municipal solid waste, yellow oils, algae, and a host of other non-food feedstocks growing across the country. Read more »
Speaking before a capacity crowd this morning at the USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum, a distinguished panel representing three federal agencies and a member of the agricultural media discussed Federal renewable energy policy and its prospects to reduce consumption of imported oil, improve environmental quality and produce new jobs in rural America. Read more »