Ethanol Boom Affecting Farms, Gas Pump

by admin on September 13, 2010

The ethanol boom is having an impact on the farm and at the gas pump, KMBC’s Bev Chapman reported. Corn is like hard-shelled gold. When Garnett, Kan., opened an ethanol plant three years ago, corn was selling for less than $2 a bushel. This week it passed $5.50 a bushel. “It’s been a win-win for agriculture,” farmer Danny Guetterman said. Guetterman farms 500 acres of corn and soybeans in Bucyrus. Like so many other, he brings the corn to East Kansas Agri Energy, where it will become around 40 million gallons of grain ethanol. “It’s keeping our dollar here at home in our corn fields, instead of investing them in foreign oil fields,” said Steve Gardner of East Kansas Agri Energy. Chapman reported that the benefits to farmers and rural communities are obvious. But is ethanol the answer to our energy problems? “It’s certainly not the answer to our transportation problem,” said Paul Comolli, who teaches the economics of energy at the University of Kansas. “One of the points critics point out, it’s kind of a small puddle in a big pond. It’s probably not going to make that much difference. Plus, it requires some kind of subsidies.” Comolli said the country would probably benefit more if the government would raise CAFE standards — fuel efficiency in cars and trucks, if more emphasis was placed on hybrid cars, and if more research and development money was spent on alternative fuels, including alternatives to corn. “Making ethanol out of a waste stream, a nonfood product just

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