National Cattlemen Withdraws from Food Before Fuel Coalition

Weekend National News Focus:

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association:  WASHINGTON (March 13, 2009) – The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) announced that as part of a revamped strategy to eliminate government intervention in the renewable energy market, it is withdrawing as a member of the Food Before Fuel Coalition.“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,” says Gary Voogt, President of NCBA and rancher from Marne, Mich. “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.”

“Soaring feed costs and government payments to the ethanol industry are hurting small businesses and family ranches,” Voogt explains. “Cattle producers don’t ask for subsidies, just equal footing.”

NCBA is working to level the playing field for America’s cattle producers by reducing or eliminating the three government interventions for the ethanol industry: the renewable fuels mandate, the blender’s tax credit, and the import tariff.

NCBA continues to support a market-based approach for the production and usage of ethanol. Our members and producers know that the marketplace offers many adequate risk management tools to utilize when building an industry. Government interventions via mandates and subsidies are never substitutes for good business practices.

“Our organization has a long history of advocacy for scientific research and development of promising new technologies,” Voogt stated. “We support the development of alternative and renewable energy sources that do not compete with livestock for feed.”

NCBA continues to support an open and free market as the best driver of competition and innovation in all industries, including the renewable energy sector.

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


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