Minnesota Farmer

So have food prices gone down?

Back in 2011 corn prices started a dramatic rise in response to demand and drought.  By the time 2012 was  over corn prices had climbed to over $7 and at times touched $8 per bushel.  Oil companies and grocery chains blamed the rise in prices in the grocery stores to the use of ethanol in gasoline.  They were talking food versus fuel.  Because ethanol was using so much corn for fuel, they claimed that the rise in prices at the grocery store had to be ethanol’s fault.  Now dent corn prices are below $4.50 a bushel and are headed lower, so let me ask you, Are grocery store prices going down?images

Those of us on the farm were not seeing the connection.  We understood that a large part of the corn seed was left over after ethanol production and that high protein feed source, DDG’s (Distillers Dried Grains with Solids), was actually lowering the price of feed ingredients for livestock producers.  We also knew that corn had been in oversupply until quite recently, and that is why when a new buyer for corn was found in ethanol production we were thankful.

The dollars just were not adding up the way they were supposed to if food prices were increasing.  If the price of corn had such a huge impact on grocery prices, then the prices at the store should have been cut almost in half this last year.Screen_Shot_20130110_at_11_39E2AB983A137

There is only a small percentage of the corn raised in the U.S. that is used for human consumption.  When you add the 38% that is used for feeding livestock to the 11% that are the DDG’s left from ethanol production, 49% of our corn production goes straight to livestock production.  Corn that goes directly to food for people is only a part of the 11% other uses and 12% for exports.

So who is to blame for rising food prices?  The World Bank has found that most of the increase in world food prices can be laid at the door of oil companies.  The cost of food in the world more accurately follows the increase in oil prices.  Since transportation of food and the use of oil based packaging have become such a large part of the cost of our food, it only make sense.  So there you have it, Big Oil, in an effort to deflect the anger at rising food prices from themselves, found a scape goat in a smaller competitor.

And who can you thank for helping hold down the cost of food by reducing the price of oil products?  Those corn farmers and their ethanol companies who have been holding down the price of transportation fuels by producing a cleaner, cheaper gasoline alternative.


30 day challenge
October 30, 2013, 8:50 am
Filed under: Farm, harvest | Tags: , , ,

The gauntlet has been thrown down and I have accepted.  The plan is for agriculture bloggers to write a post every day for 30 days.  Hmmm…. what should the theme be.

We’ve had a very busy fall and those not involved in farming may be wondering just what does a farmer do when harvest is done.  So, here it is, I’ll be letting you know some of the things that we do after the harvest.  I can tell you now that some days will be boring, but hopefully it will give you an insight into what happens on the farm after the harvest.  For some of those days I’ll be reaching back to what we have already done, we did finish our harvest days ago.  Still others may have a theme that is centered on a conversation that sparked debate.  All in all I hope you enjoy the month.

I’m definitely going to be a different voice in this challenge, since most of the others taking part are younger than my 60 years and female.  That does not mean I have nothing to say.  Come on, those of you who know me know I am seldom at a loss for words.  Still it is going to be a challenge.  Expect to see the following as themes.

30 days: Cleaning up and putting away

30 days: Turning poop into fertilizer

30 days: Trimming up

30 days: Planning for planting

30 days: Getting ready for harvest

30 days: How much wood

30 days: At church again

30 days: Farm Bureau days

Hmmm…  Maybe I can find 30 subjects to write about.  Stay tuned!