Food vs Fuel

Combating Global Warming

Reduce dependence on petrolium based products

Soybeans are nitrogen fixers; if corn surpasses soybean production, nitrogen will leach into soil

Corn & Soybeans are row crops; promoting soil depletion/erosion

More corn & soybeans in acreage means more pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicide application: often mismanaged

What energy & chemical inputs are used in ethanol/birfuel production?

Reducing Dependence on Foreign Oil

Governmental Incentives

Subsidies & Tax Breaks

The Rich Get Richer & The Poor Get Poorer

Industry depends on taxpayer subsidies

US imports 70% of its oil

2008 Farm Bill Calling for More Biofuel Production

Lead in gasoline replaced by ethanol in the 70s & 80s

Other Alternatives

Petroleum is not the only nonrenewable energy source we rely on heavily: coal & uranium

SOLAR, WIND, & HYDROPOWER, true renewable & sustainable energy sources which pose viable alternatives

(Bio)Fuel Mania

The higher oil prices go, the higher ethanol prices can go while remaining competitive - and the more ethanol producers can pay for corn

Prices are rising because many buyers (Wall Street) think they will

World Hunger

Food Security

Corn & Soybean production goes up, while wheat rye and other food grains go down

The price of feed for livestock and poultry rise as the growers are able to charge more (b/c the ethanol producers are subsidized and are making huge profits, enabling them to pay higher prices)

Grains for livestock feed becoming more important as newly rich families are eating more meat, eggs, dairy etc

FOOD grains decrease as acreage for FEED grains rises

Foot Riots

Inability to pay rising food costs

Existed long before the boom in biofuel/ethenol production

It isn't a lack of food, but rather the inequality in the distribution of food that has spiraled out of control, leaving underdeveloped and poor countries out in the cold

Biofuel production in US not likely to result in more world hunger

Simply modifyingor ending production system of biofuels will do little to address their underlying causes

hunger, poverty, global warming, foreign oil dependence, risky markets, overzealous/nervous Wall Street bidding, etc

Fueling a 25 gallon tank of an SUV with pure ethanol requires over 450 pounds of corn - which contains enough calories to feed one person for a year

"Even without ethanol & biodiesel, we need to motivate farmers around the world to expand production and this can only be done through price incentives."

Price incentives for farmers producing FOOD


This debate offers an opportunity to critically examine our food, farm, & trade systems

Does not SOLVE the discrepencies in Global commodity marketing nor does it provide a total solution to the depletion of non-renewable fossil fuels

Does pose an opportunity, if controlled or regulated to do so, for US food & energy systems to move toward sustainability

Genetic enginiering of corn & soybean crops may enable their mass production but will wreak havoc on the ecosystem


Biodiesel made for diesel engines; acts as a better lubricant and actually cleans out the gunk in the engine. owners must often replace fuel filters and other hoses

Ethanol can be mixed up to any amount, up to pure ethanol, with gaoline for gas vehicles; burns cleaner (probably quicker too)


Policies which promote eqaulity in access to healthy food, ag production practices that reduce reliance on fossil fuels, the improvement of soil & water quality/resources, and maintain fair local and global markets

Government Protection

"Pork-Barrel Politics" - Governmental spending intended to benefit a politicians constituents in return for their support

Archer Daniels Midland Company, VeraSun, etc.; Hubert Humphrey, Bob Dole, Ron Kind, Etc.

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