'We Can Get There'

National Corn Growers Association president says industry can meet demand for food and fuel.

Published on: Mar 2, 2007

"We can get there – we can produce a 15 billion bushel crop," said Ken McCauley, National Corn Growers Association president and a White Cloud, Kan., farmer, at a Commodity Classic press conference Thursday.

Biotechnology, improved genetics, more acres and improved ethanol efficiencies will combine to generate enough corn in a few years to meet both demand for food and fuel, he said.

Livestock producers will soon see more DDGs coming on the market. Research will help them use more DDGs in cattle, hogs and poultry rations, McCauley said.

A new test method will help livestock producers use more DDGs, too. It will standardize methods used to determine DDGs moisture and crude protein, fat and fiber content levels.

Ken McCauley, president, National Corn Growers Association, outlines how the industry group thinks farmers will produce enough fuel to meet both demand for booth food and fuel in the future.

Higher corn prices won't translate into dramatically higher prices for meat, McCauley said.

Ingredient inputs make up only about 19 cents of every dollar the consumer pays for food. The remaining 81 cents represents labor, packaging, transportation, marketing and other business related expenses.

McCauley cited a 2006 American Farm Bureau report the increased use of corn by ethanol will only cost consumers only $1 more per year at the grocery store by 2008 and only $6 per year by 2009. These small increases in food costs will be more than offset by fuel cost savings and farm program payment reductions, according to the Farm Bureau.

The NCGA has developed a revenue-based farm safety net proposal for the 2007 Farm Bill. The proposal combines current direct payments, federal crop and individual insurance programs, a recourse marketing loan and a new revenue counter cyclical program. It would compensate producers when a crop's actual country revenue per acre falls below the expected county revenue per acre.

Some lawmakers may think that farmers don't need a farm program anymore because corn prices are high and the ethanol industry is booming.

"We have a big job to do to make sure [Congress] remembers that we do need a safety net, no matter how high prices are now," McCauley said.