Feeding the world...I'm not so sure. Helping Wall Street....of that I'm sure


Here is a fun chart for the folks who like to talk about "Feeding The World".  This graph comes from the USDA which I think this a data source most factory farms and food monopolies can support.  By the looks of this chart, the percentage of corn that is going to "food" is an ever shrinking percentage of  total production.   

Also keep in mind that 15% of all the 'food' consumed in the United States is imported from around 150 other countries. This includes 50% of all fruit and 20% of all vegetables.   (actual food)


According to the USDA domestic corn for food has been flat to shrinking for the past 30 years.  Be "we are feeding the world" right?"     Except that we are not.  

Only about 15% of the US corn crop is exported and that percentage is forecast to shrink.   Now that the global seed companies have been selling GMO seeds internationally, Brazil has quickly moved up to the number two global exporter replacing Argentina.   Increased competition won't matter right?   I mean the global market is growing so quickly it can easily absorb the excess supply...right???


Hmmmm......not exactly.   The USDA forecast just published September 12th, 2013 projects that global corn consumption will fall this season and fall again in 2014....with a corresponding increase in corn stocks due to overproduction.


Corn Use In The United States


Well at least we have Ethanol.   Oh right...more than 20% of the 'Food' we produce goes into ethanol in the United States.   And that is mandated by the Government to keep increasing.   Uhhhh...except that it can't.

Some history.  In 2005 the Government initiated a law requiring an ever increasing amount of ethanol (renewable fuel) to be produced.  (The Yellow Section on the Chart)  In 2007 that law grew to add covenants as to how many gallons the refiners had to use totally based on assumptions of future fuel consumption by all of us.   The law wasn't written based on the percentage of biofuel per gallon of regular fuel but based on total gallons produced.  

So for example,  in 2013 refiners and importers are required to blend 13.8 billion gallons of ethanol, up from 13.2 billion in 2012.      For 2014, the figure is 14.4 billion.  
Great for the corn industry.  Except......The forecasters were wrong about the total amount of fuel that would be needed by American cars and trucks.   Rather than fuel consumption growing by 6% as projected back in 2007, consumption has actually fallen.

Big problem here....

If there is less fuel being used but total gallons of ethanol in the system is increasing then the refiners are forced to add all that surplus ethanol in greater concentration.    Except they can't.   There is something called "The Blend Wall" which is basically the maximum amount of Ethanol that can be added to gasoline before issues like corrosion in gas station pumps and tanks become a big problem.  

If a refiner doesn't use up the prescribed amount of ethanol the government requires, they are permitted to buy credits.   These credits were created early in the program when some refiners were actually using more ethanol than required at the time.  These over achieving refiners were allowed to sell credits out in the open market.   The idea was that refiners who couldn't (for whatever reason) make the required volume of blended fuel would have to offset that by buying these credits.  The goal was to use the forced purchase of credits to motivate all of the refiners to buy more ethanol.

Back in the day of course lots of refiners were using lots of ethanol.   That meant that there were plenty of credits to sell.   Today, refiners cannot physically use all of the ethanol they are required to absorb so the price is high for to buy the required credits.

Boy!  Do I wish I was around to buy up all those cheap credits and be able to afford to wait around to resell them to the refiners when the price was high.   But I wasn't.   You know who was?.......Wall Street.  Who's cleaning up on this unsustainable program?  Wall Street and other speculators.  

I'm not condemning them.  As the New York Times Said in their article this Sunday:  "The market in ethanol credits is exactly the kind Wall Street loves: opaque, lightly regulated and potentially very lucrative."



Ethanol Credits


I don't understand the way many U.S. farmers defend these global seed and chemical companies.  They sure don't care about the U.S. Farmer.   They know that when this Ethanol mandate is repealed the price of corn will collapse...with the seed companies increasing sales to our global farming competitors it doesn't really matter to them.  They are creating specific GMO's for South America to compete with us and it won't be long before they have specific seeds for Africa.   Does anyone think that seed or chemical prices will go down correspondingly? 

My point here is that GMO production isn't about  "feeding the world".  You can argue for or against GMO's on many points, but 'feeding the world'  isn't one of them.



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