Jul 30, 2014
Home / Biofuels / The Ethanol Mandate is Killing the Cattle and Hog Industry – Kevin Grier, George Morris Centre

The Ethanol Mandate is Killing the Cattle and Hog Industry – Kevin Grier, George Morris Centre

The food versus fuel debate seems to be alive and well according to Kevin Grier from the George Morris Center.  Kevin also believes that some of the people that should be the most update are livestock producers in Canada.  As Kevin mention in the below interview, with 40% of the US corn crop being burned up for ethanol it puts huge supply concerns on corn.”

Kevin Grier is based in Guelph with the George Morris Center and he very strongly believes that we will look back in ten years and wonder why we ever entertained an ethanol policy.  I strongly encourage you to play this video and listen to the argument that Kevin makes for the elimination of corn ethanol production.  Whether you agree or disagree Kevin gives livestock producers, corn growers and the public something to think about.

If you cannot see the below embedded video, click here

About Shaun Haney

Avatar of Shaun Haney
Shaun grew up on a family seed farm in Southern Alberta. Haney Farms produces, conditions and retails wheat, barley, canola and corn seed. Shaun Haney is the founder of RealAgriculture.com.

5 comments

  1. So what happens to the 40% demand? Grain farmers have suffered terrible prices and margins for years. Call it a subsidy if you want but the cattle producer has been subsidized large amounts over the past two decades. Why can the grain guy not make some money for once. I also disagree with the statement that the Canadian meat producer has suffered more because of grain prices than the high Canadian dollar. Give me a $.65 Loonie anyday of the year. I’d rather pay more for my holiday than have a par dollar. I can remember not much more than 10 years ago geting paid $95/MT for barley delivered to feedlot in S. Alberta which is about when Ethanol started to come to life. Tell me how that is sustainable. Everyone wants cheap food and the value added guys along the way aren’t changing the margins they make. Its the farmer at the beginning of the chain that has to take the biggest risk and the smallest margins. But the fact that we now have somewhere else to market the grain makes us the bad ones. Just don’t get it.

  2. Hard to have sympathy for cattle feeders when the had no sympathy for me when I sold them $110 per MT feed barley. I do struggle with not having enough corn to feed cattle when we are sticking it in our gas tanks.

  3. George Lubberts

    I don’t understand what the big deal is about using crop land for fuel. A generation or two ago a large part of crop land was used for fuel production, hay and grains for horses and oxen, for traction and transportation. It has only been the last 50 years or so that crop producers were buying in all their fuel for traction and transportation, prior to that farmers produced their own fuel. We are now going back to the “good ole days” I guess. Isn’t that what all the tree huggers want?

    As far as cheap food goes, why should farmers bear the brunt of feeding the world? The majority of the poor people, especially in the developing areas of the world are farmers. Let’s allow these farmers a good price for their products and help them produce enough so that they can have a surplus to sell so they can properly support their families. Maybe then we will see fewer people migrate to cities to try to earn a decent income.

  4. From a cattle feeders perspective high grain prices are not a bad thing. Generally the cattle feeding bizz tries to run on a margin which takes into account your expected sell price less the feed cost to feed the animal less the cost of the calf. As grain prices go higher the price of the calf (feeder animal) tends to go lower. So high grain prices in regards to cattle business tend to hurt the rancher first. When the rancher/cow calf operator decides his price is to low he reduces his herd size, eventually limiting supply enough to send his calf prices up…this along with high grain prices sends the price signal up the chain till it ultimately lands on the consumers tab. Voila everyone in agriculture wins. Of course this process tends to have its share of casualties as volatile price fluctuations tend to cause some pain to someone caught in between this transition.

    But i do have to agree with some of Kevin’s comments. To take a tonne of corn use natural gas to cook it, put it thru a fermentation process, send 1/3 of it up the stack in Carbon Dioxide, another 1/3 of a tonne turns into ethanol and the last third of a tonne is a wet feed residual product you need to use natural gas to dry it down. I may be missing something but this does not sound real environmentally sound or finically sustainable to me.

  5. Since I don’t have the exact stats I won’t bark too loud but no one talks about the dried distillers grain that comes out of the ethanol process. When barley went through the roof the southern alberta feedlots turned to this product in a big way. Maybe I am just not understanding what truely is going on but please remember the corn used for ethanol just doesn’t disappear. There is a by-product for the feed industry so pigs and cattle are far from having a hoof in the grave.

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