Filed under: Ag education, Ag promotion, Animal care, Biofuels, ethanol, Farm, farm animals, Farm Bureau, food, food safety, genetic modification, Minnesota, Politicians, Politics, travel | Tags: Agriculture education, biofuels, ethanol, farm, Farm Bureau, farm bureau members, Food, food safety, government, Minnesota, minnesota farm bureau federation, politics, travel
Filed under: Biofuels, cars, ethanol | Tags: big oil, biofuels, Brazil, car, cars, ethanol, ethanol blends, machines, politics, transportation
Big Oil’s best kept secret from the American consumer is Brazil’s fuel ethanol mandate, which started during the 1970s as a result of the OPEC oil embargoes. In Brazil, where ethanol is made from sugar cane, all gasoline contains 20 percent to 25 percent ethanol (E20-E25). At retail stations, consumers can choose to fuel up on 100 percent ethanol (E100) or with E20 to E25.
For decades, conventional unmodified automobiles in Brazil ran on E20-E25 with no engine problems whatsoever. By 2003, the Brazilian government incentivized the sale of flex-fuel automobiles which can run on any blend of ethanol up to E100. As of December 2010, Brazil had more than 12 million flex-fuel vehicles and 500,000 motorcycles regularly using E100 fuel. Even small engines for lawn equipment have successfully used E20-E25 in Brazil.
Yet here in the United States, Big Oil and the American Petroleum Institute have launched an all-out war against ethanol via a massive advertising smear campaign in an attempt to quash the U.S. ethanol industry. In fact, the API has publicly announced it is seeking a congressional repeal of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS-2), which mandates our country use 36 billion gallons per year of biofuel, mainly ethanol, by 2022. “
Across the country Big Oil is spending the profits from todays high gasoline prices and the hand outs that our government gives them to give ethanol blended fuels a black eye. The truth hurts if you are Big Oil.
Filed under: Biofuels, cars, ethanol, Farm, food, history | Tags: Agriculture education, biofuels, cars, climate, ethanol, farm, Food, fuel, horses, machines, science, transportation
Now stop and think about it. You are concerned that foods you eat may be diverted to use for fuel. You consider that this is a new phenomenon. The truth is that only in the last century or so has the earths surface not provided the world with fuel. Only when we dug down for coal, oil and nuclear energy did man move away from the fuels provided by the forests and fields of agriculture.
How did the horses and oxen of our great grandfathers generation move? They ate plant materials and turned them into energy. Before WWII most of the production of a farm went to feeding the horses and oxen that pulled the plows, wagons and buggies. Very little of the food produced on a farm actually made it into town.
When the train and the automobile were first introduced they was powered by ethanol, from fermented grains or other food crops, or steam, produced mostly from coal or wood, not oil, thus powering early trains and autos on the produce of farms and forests. Early oil discoveries were used in medicines and as lubricants. Then some oil man figured out how to make a motor fuel cheaper than ethanol and we moved into the modern era with our addiction to oil.
When Germany went to war it had very little for oil reserves and initially powered its war machine on potato alcohol. When bootleggers needed a fuel to outrun government pursuit they fueled their boats and cars with alcohol and ethanol. It is only since WWII that man has depended almost solely on oil for his motor fuels.
So you see, except for a brief part of history, man has relied on farms and forests to provide him with food and fuel. It is only in the “modern” era, an era of smog, pollution and global warming, has man relied on the fossil fuels of coal, oil and natural gas. Perhaps it’s time we got back to the farm to fuel our world. I’m not such a fan of pollution and global warming.
Filed under: Biofuels, cars, ethanol, Minnesota, Politicians, Politics, travel | Tags: big oil, biofuels, car, cars, gasoline prices, gasoline usage, machines, Minnesota, NASCAR, politics
Why is it that while Americans are now using 8% less gasoline, gasoline prices are going up? Who stands to profit by higher gasoline prices? Big Oil that’s who.
Why is it that while American ethanol producers are producing ethanol at $1 per gallon less than gasoline, oil company blenders do not choose to buy ethanol to help hold the price of gasoline down? We are currently shipping ethanol to other countries, including Brazil which used to be a net ethanol exporter. Who stands to profit by using less ethanol and more gasoline? Big Oil that’s who.
I’m lucky to have a blender pump in my area so that I can buy 20%, 30% or even 50% ethanol if I choose to lower my price of transportation fuel. Many areas have to search to find 85% ethanol, which is the most available alternative fuel. I use 20% ethanol in my car whenever I fill up, no engine problems. I’ve even used 30% ethanol for short periods with no problem. E20 and E30 give you more power at less cost.
Tests by universities here in Minnesota show no adverse effects on automotive engines for using 20% ethanol blends. NASCAR is has completed 1.5 million miles with no engine issues using 15% ethanol. Despite all of this testing, Big Oil supporters are calling for more testing. They do not want to miss out on one of your dollars making it to their pocket.
It’s time to tell the money guzzlers at Big Oil to back off. They don’t need any more help from our government, they are already making record profits.
Reduce your consumption of gasoline, and increase you consumption of home-grown biofuels like ethanol. Drive less. Car pool or use pubic transport whenever possible. Reduce your speed on the highway. Do everything you can to cut gasoline usage. Stop sending your money to Big Oil.
Filed under: Biofuels, ethanol, Politicians, Politics | Tags: biofuels, dependence on foreign oil, ethanol, politics, renewable fuel
Tuesday, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) filed an amendment to the Senate’s Highway Bill to repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). We all know this amendment is misguided. And we all know it has nothing to do building roads and bridges. It does have something to do with protecting the income of big oil companies. Big oil is concerned about losing 10 to 15% of their income. They are calling in all their markers in government to remove RFS. So here are some things I believe about why we should support the RFS.
- The RFS is a foundation for energy independence and economic stability.
- The RFS has reduced our dependence on foreign oil, strengthened our national security, created American jobs than can’t be outsourced, and reduced greenhouse gases.
- The RFS has reduced smog in major cities.
- Since President Nixon first called for American energy independence forty years ago, the RFS has been the only effective way to limit foreign oil imports.
- The RFS has reduced gas prices by as much as 50 cents before VEETEC, sometimes referred to as the “blender’s credit,” a tax credit of 45 cents for every gallon of pure ethanol blended, was allowed to expire.
Those who seek to have the RFS removed cannot be interested in the future of our country. Why do we need to continue paying oil companies huge amounts of money to bring in oil from other countries when we can produce jobs and fuel here in the U.S. I just do not understand it. Let’s buy American people.
Filed under: Ag education, Ag promotion, Animal care, Farm, Farm Bureau, Hawaii, Minnesota, Politics, travel, weather | Tags: Agriculture education, american farm bureau federation, biofuels, Corn, farm, Farm Bureau, farm bureau federation, Food, friends, Hawaii, hawaii convention center, machines, Minnesota, politics
it’s 2012, the time has come again for the American Farm Bureau Federation to meet in Honolulu, and this year I decided to take advantage of the fact. Now I’m not a delegate or an exhibiter so I’m not getting my way paid by anyone, but I am a Farm Bureau Member and I do have a daughter who lives in the Aloha state, so I had at least two reasons to go.
As with any organization there were meetings for the whole group and meeting for special groups, like the Minnesota Breakfast for the about 100 of us from Minnesota, or the County Presidents Luncheon which I attended.
There were also breakout sessions on subjects that members might find interesting like these;
- Food and Farm Facts, Navigating Waves of Change in Advocacy and Agriculture Literacy
- American Farmer: Heart of Our Country
- Election 2012
- 2012 Farm Bill
- It’s Not What You Say, It’s What They Hear
- Business Development
- 2012 Crops Outlook Conference
- 2012 Livestock Outlook Conference
- Asia in the Present and Future of U.S. Agricultural Trade
- Celebrating Differences:How to Capitalize on Diversity in Times of Change
- Protecting your Estate:Essential Questions to ask your Estate Planning Professional
- Operating in and Era of Hyper Regulation
- Farm to Table, Aloha Style
Whew, I only had time to get to three of those, I wanted to go to many more.
All of this was held in the Hawaii Convention Center in Ala Moana neighborhood of Honolulu.
The Hawaii Convention Center is a four level combination of open air spaces and closed meeting rooms with all that the over 6000 farm folks could want, and plenty of space to do it in. The exhibiter area was large, There were multiple areas for breakout sessions and meetings as well as banquets and grab a quick meal areas. Several restaurants were just across the street.
The beauty of Hawaii is that the temperatures are usually good. Closed rooms usually have air conditioning, but all hallways are open to allow the out doors in. Dress code for Farm Bureau conventions is Business Casual, but in Hawaii casual is the Sunday-go-to-meeting-norm, a Hawaiian shirt is dressed up. To Hawaiians we were over dressed.
Inside and out the building was beautiful. Even from the back, everything was designed to welcome. This water wall was hidden away where few conventioneers had to go.
I expect that in about ten years the American Farm Bureau Federation will be back again to visit the Aloha State.
Filed under: Biofuels, Corn, ethanol, Farm | Tags: biofuels, Corn, corn market, corn prices, farm, marketing, weather
The market lately has been quite good for corn, perhaps better than many would guess, but it is not good enough for farmers, and so far they seem to have the upper hand.
I stopped in at our local ethanol plant today and had a talk with their corn buyer. He is having trouble getting farmers to cut loose and sell corn. The ethanol plant is not running out of corn, but he is not buying as much as he expected. At this time of year he would like to have most of the corn he needs for next October under contract, for quite a few years he has been able to do just that, but not this year. As of now he only has 10% of his October needs under contract.
Near by months are also contracted below where he would like to see. At the moment they are emptying bins that they had hoped would not be needed until spring. Why the trouble buying corn? They have the best price in the area, there should be no trouble getting all the corn they need. Farm storage is full and just waiting for sales to be made.
Today a little of that corn was purchased. The corn market passed a phycological level. His bid was over $6 at market close. The phone started ringing with people wanting to sell corn.
The phycology of the market is huge as far as farm folks are concerned. Yes, they realize that demand is down. Yes, they know that corn is selling at higher levels than it used to in the years before 2010. Farm folks have read all of those articles by farm price prognosticators saying that corn prices must go down. They understand that selling corn at a price so close to that of wheat cannot continue. The fact is, that corn is not selling at prices that were received last year at this time. Farm folks want those higher corn prices, and are willing to hold corn for now to get them.
It is a high stakes game of chicken. Many farm folks have penciled in $7 corn on their budget for the coming year and promised a premium price to rent or buy farm land, a price that must have $7 corn to be profitable. Now that $7 corn looks like it will not come back, they are holding on to the corn they now own in hopes of a better price. What if that day does not come.
Currently, end users of corn are bidding up in hopes of shaking some of that corn loose. As long as the corn market continues in its present sideways trend they will continue to do so. What is going to happen when we break out of that trend?
I have to admit it, there is a slim possibility that prices will go up again. Corn demand could return to the levels it was a year ago and we could see $7 or higher corn prices return. The drought in the central parts of the U.S. could reassert itself, or floods could return with the spring, and lower crop yields again in 2012. As long as the market sees some possibility of crop failures in other parts of the world, the market will continue to trend sideways, or even go up. But you have to feed the bull everyday, without daily bad news, the market will go down.
There is more potential for the corn market to go down. When corn and wheat prices stay too close together, livestock feeders turn to wheat as a cheaper substitute, thus raising wheat prices and lowering corn prices. Local corn is coming out of the bin at higher than average test weight and it will not take as many bushels to provide consumer needs. Some of the factors that have propped up the ethanol market for so long are soon to expire, and higher cost ethanol producers could go out of business, thus reducing corn demand. With higher meat prices, many families are reducing their meat consumption, this lowers the demand even further for corn. Year to year trends suggest that corn prices should be going down soon as speculators shift their focus to planting intentions and away from crop conditions in other parts of the world.
When will this game of chicken end? Who knows? I really am expecting a drop in the market soon, maybe even starting before the new year. If prices start to drop, I’m afraid they will continue down for some time.
For my part, I am taking advantage of the recent increase in prices to sell more of my 2011 crop. I have not yet priced any of my 2012 crop, but that is usual for me. I may just sell some corn under a minimum price contract to hedge against a price drop. Then, I’m going to sit back and watch for a while. I have enough corn and soybeans sold to cover my needs for planting. Any further sales are not needed today, I can afford to speculate on the future.
Let the game of chicken begin. I get to watch.
Filed under: Biofuels, cars, ethanol, Farm, food, travel | Tags: biofuels, car, cars, diesel, diesel fuel. transportation, farm, Food, machines
To most people the current decline in fuel prices is a relief, but to those who use diesel fuel to move, the news has not been so good. Why should you care?
I admit, I have been relieved to see gasoline prices drop, but I have been perplexed that for quite a few months now the price of diesel fuel has not gone down, indeed it has gone up. When I recently filled my gas tank near Chaska for $3.13 I was quite pleased, since that was down a lot from the $3.27 that I had seen on the pumps when I left home. What did not please me was to realize that diesel prices had again gone up and were now at $4.17. Only a year ago the two fuels were at nearly the same price. That increase in diesel fuel prices verses gasoline prices affects everyone.
There is very little in our life here in the U.S. that is not dependent on the price of diesel fuel. The trucks that bring all of the things we need and want are powered by diesel. Buses and trains, ships and tractors all are dependent on diesel fuel. More than any other fuel source, diesel is the power that moves us. The food you eat, the clothing you wear, the car you drive, the fuel that moves our machinery, all arrive at the store on the power of diesel fuel.
Our nation’s farmers depend on diesel fuel as a powerful, economical, source of power for their machinery. Without diesel fuel there would be no ground preparation, no planting, no fertilizing, no weeding, no harvesting. Food moves from the farm to the store on diesel powered wheels. It is a large part of the price we pay for everything we eat.
For most of my life I have seen diesel fuel as the lower priced, higher powered, source of energy for transportation. It has become the fuel of choice for many in the rest of the world. But unlike gasoline, the demand for diesel fuel is inelastic. The demand for diesel is always there.
Consumers look at the price of gas as too high and they stop traveling, trips are cancelled or consolidated, more efficient cars are purchased and the big, gas guzzling vehicles are mothballed. Diesel fuel use does not change so easily, the trucks that move everything we need must keep going. The buses and trains we use when gas prices are high are filled to the brim, and new routes are put into use.
Then there is the new competition for gasoline, ethanol. Whenever gas prices get too high, gas wholesalers add more ethanol to the mix. The current price of ethanol to gasoline is such that adding a little more ethanol to the mix can increase profits for gasoline sales, diesel fuel has no such lower priced alternative.
Usually when fuel prices go down the price of many of the goods we buy goes down also, but this time I wouldn’t look for decreasing prices at the grocery store. Because of the rising prices at the pump for diesel fuel, I expect the price of many of our goods to continue to go up. That will take an ever increasing amount of money out of the pockets of all of us. Not at all a comforting thought.
Filed under: Ag education, Ag promotion, Corn, Farm, food, harvest, hunger | Tags: Agriculture education, biofuels, Corn, ethanol, farm, Food, harvest, history
Food demand around the world is growing by 1.1 percent per year according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Fortunately, a Canadian study reveals that global grain production has increased by 1.5 percent per year over the past 20 years. With increasing resources now being directed to agricultural development in some of the world’s hungriest countries, especially in Africa, there is optimism that we will continue to grow the crops and increase production where the need is greatest.
Now producing and eating only grains is not going to get you a balanced diet, but it is a first step. It does tell you that there is indeed hope that we can continue to feed the worlds people. The increase of production over demand does tell you why we are using grains for ethanol production. We still have more of some grains than we need.
So despite all of the fear of the year folks out there, the worlds farmers are still doing their job of feeding the worlds population. Every year we produce more with less. The efficiency of farm folks should be an inspiration to all.
Filed under: Biofuels, cars, Corn, ethanol, Farm, Politicians, Politics | Tags: Agriculture education, biofuels, car, cars, Corn, ethanol, farm, NASCAR
I am constantly amazed at the number of negative comments I see about using ethanol as a fuel source. After all it is not only better for your lungs, it helps keep American Dollars here in America. Today I came across some information that answers the question of where those negative comments come from.
The dollar means everything in America, and no one seems to have more dollars to spend than our government. To help our politicians decide how to spend those dollars groups send lobbyists to Washington D.C. Of the 187 lobbying groups that comment on ethanol legislation, only 16 were pro ethanol. The largest lobbying group commenting on ethanol legislation is the oil companies who spent 170 million dollars to influence legislation last year. Only 4 million dollars were spent by pro ethanol groups.
Big oil was not the only one who was bashing ethanol in the last years. Grocery stores and food processors were also trying to cover their increasing costs by blaming ethanol. They also spent a healthy sum in D.C.
Now the NASCAR racing group has decided to weigh in on the side of ethanol. This year all cars at NASCAR will sport a green ring around their fuel port promoting ethanol and the 15% ethanol blend that is being used in all cars. These are some of the best engines and best drivers in the world, and having them on your side will help ethanol’s image a lot. Every time they wave the green flag you will see a pro ethanol message. They are starting with E15, but expect to increase that blend level, after all, ethanol was the fuel that started many of those good old boys driving fast cars in the prohibition era.
So why ethanol?
- Ethanol blended gasoline is better for your lungs. Most major cities would be under smog alerts for much of the year without the help of ethanol.
- Ethanol produces jobs here in the U.S. There have been no new oil refineries built in the U.S. for many years, but ethanol is now being produced from our fields to replace 12% of our gasoline. The refineries to produce it are in the middle of the country, far away from hurricanes and tsunamis.
- Ethanol reduces the price of fueling your car. Just compare the cost of diesel fuel with gas. They used to track within a few cents of each other. Now a price advantage of 30 to 50 cents in not uncommon.
- No military are needed to protect our ethanol shipments from other countries. The military spends billions every year in some of the most troubled areas of the world to protect our oil interests.
- Ethanol spills will never foul our beaches. In fact ethanol readily breaks down if spilled, and it doesn’t have to go near the beach.
- Ethanol production has raised the price of corn on the farm. This means that fewer dollars are needed to support crop production when price levels are below cost of production.
To me it’s obvious, Ethanol is the better fuel choice. Now it’s up to you to decide, who are you going to believe, big oil, or your farmer neighbor.