As The Gazette recently reported, a Washington, D.C. based pressure group, Mighty Earth, is trying to raise skepticism about biofuels. They claim farmers are plowing under grass land to plant more crops. However, the years they use to make the claim are the same years Congress reduced the Conservation Reserve Program by 12 million acres — a change totally unrelated to biofuel production. In the big picture, planted acres in the U.S. have decreased from 350 million acres in the 1970s to 320 million now.
It’s inexcusable that groups not required to disclose donors are using these lies to attack the Renewable Fuel Standard, just as Iowa farmers search desperately for stronger markets amid a rural recession.
Ethanol only uses the starch in corn. The protein, minerals, vitamins, fiber and oils are retained for livestock feed, which greatly offsets the amount of land that was once used exclusively for livestock feed.
Progressively, we’re getting more bushels from every acre of land and more ethanol from every bushel. Income enhanced by biofuels will help me pay for more conservation.
Public and private research finds greenhouse emissions from corn-based ethanol are about 39 percent lower than gasoline. This carbon reduction could reach 70 percent by 2022, according to the USDA.
Farmers have confronted and debunked Mighty Earth’s copycat lies in both 2015 and 2017. In assessing that, we need to realize that the oil industry is not shy about steering their anti-biofuels advocacy through other, less ominous groups.