Last year the Renewable Fuels Standard resulted in 40% of the national corn supply being allocated to ethanol production instead of uses like animal feed. Not only has that, along with drought conditions, contributed to rising food prices, but it is also causing a shortage of pork and bacon.
“A world shortage of pork and bacon next year is now unavoidable,” the National Pig Association in the UK said this week.
The droughts meant less feed to go around and farmers had to take drastic measures. One farmer fed his cows candy to survive, while others have pared their herds. The NPA warned that he number of slaughtered pigs could drop by 10 percent in the second half of next year and that could cause the price of pork products to DOUBLE.
There is actually a flood of Brazilian ethanol coming into the country (Brazilian ethanol is made from sugar instead of corn) thanks to dropped trade tariffs and the federal government’s on-going ethanol mandate creating artificial demand for the fuel. What’s frustrating, though, is just how much distortion these policies are bringing to the markets for a fuel that really doesn’t provide consumers with any benefits.
Which is why consumers don’t buy ethanol unless there are subsidies or mandates in place.
The question is, how much longer will Americans tolerate higher food prices, and food shortages, for the sake of a fuel that doesn’t really do them any good? After decades of subsidies, mandates and trade protectionism t’s time for ethanol to either sink or swim on its own.