By Grain Farmers of Ontario
b. 7, 2012, Guelph, ON - Once again the George Morris Centre pits farmers against one another in a report falsely accusing the ethanol industry of causing harm to livestock farmers.
Since one third of the corn used for ethanol becomes livestock feed through an ethanol byproduct called distillers grains, the effect of the ethanol industry in Ontario on our feed supply is negligible. In fact the George Morris Centre report actually shows that livestock production has been maintained in recent years and livestock prices have been at or near record high levels despite the growth of the ethanol industry.
“There are so many examples of erroneous information in this report that I am disappointed Canadian livestock producers would choose to point a finger at the ethanol industry as the culprit for lost revenue,” says Don Kenny, Chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario. “Many of my neighbors with livestock are also enjoying high grain prices so we are talking about the same farmers here.”
Instead of pointing fingers and placing blame, Grain Farmers of Ontario offers to work cooperatively with the livestock industry in pursuit of solutions that will raise the value of the whole agricultural industry. Grain farmers are pleased with the recent gains in the livestock industry because the grain industry depends on a healthy livestock sector.
Corn yields in Ontario are growing at a rapid rate and without the ethanol industry to take the corn, there would be a significant glut in the market with a detrimental impact on corn farmer income. In fact, the increase in corn production since 2000 is almost equivalent to the increased amount of corn going for ethanol production.
The George Morris Centre study states that there is unfair competition between livestock and ethanol grain buyers due to government subsidization and tariffs. Grain farmers in Ontario are not protected from an influx of American corn by a tariff. In addition, subsidies are not unique to the ethanol industry.
“The benefit of ethanol should be looked at from the big picture in Canada, not through the single lens of livestock production. Let’s not forget that the 5% ethanol mandate is reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 2 million tonnes each year,” says Kenny. “That is equivalent to taking 440,000 cars off the road.”
Ethanol production from grain has meant a 62 percent reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions on a per-litre, per-calorie-of-combustible-energy basis. This Canadian-made fuel contains 1.6 times the energy content that is required to grow the grain.