Beef Group Pulls Out of Food vs. Fuel Coalition

National Cattlemen's Beef Association is revamping its strategy.

Published on: Mar 16, 2009
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association has announced it will withdraw as a member of the Food Before Fuel Coalition as part of a revamped strategy to eliminate government intervention in the renewable energy market.

In a press statement, Gary Voogt, NCBA president and a Marne, Mich., rancher, comments: "The Food Before Fuel Coalition has been a good partner in our efforts to raise awareness about the harmful impacts of the government's excessive subsidization of the ethanol industry. As the coalition's work broadens, however, we remain focused on a single goal: ensuring a level playing field for our cattle producers."

Since January of 2008, cattle feeders have lost a staggering $4 billion because of high feed costs. Tough economic times combined with high corn prices and increased input costs have forced many producers to reduce their herd sizes.

A report released by the Congressional Research Service in September of 2008 shows the dramatic increase in production costs in the past years. According to the report, “the main driver was feed, which may account for 60%-70% of total livestock production costs in any given year. Overall, total U.S. feed expenses were forecast to reach a record-high $48 billion in 2008, a jump of nearly $10 billion or 26% over 2007 - a year that was $6.7 billion higher than 2006.”

Voogt notes that after 30 years of support, corn-based ethanol "is still reliant on government subsidies to be commercially viable. It is time to stop propping up this industry at the expense of cattle producers."