Loran Schmit: Ethanol Has Been Good for Nebraska
by Loran Schmit (Omaha World-Herald) In 1971, Nebraska state senators championed legislation to establish the nation’s first state ethanol development program. As a farmer and state senator at the time, it was clear to me that Nebraska’s economy needed a boost to survive a prolonged downturn in agricultural exports.
Twenty-five Nebraska communities currently host ethanol plants. More than $5 billion was invested in developing these facilities. Additional investment is made in these plants each year. More jobs are created. Nearly 45 percent of the 2016 Nebraska corn crop will be processed in these plants.
A Washington Post article and other newspaper stories in recent weeks have focused on the fact that “The United States is awash in pork, beef, eggs, milk and bountiful harvests. U.S. beef companies are producing nearly 5 percent more beef than in 2015, thanks in part to plentiful feed supplies.” The Post article notes, “It’s getting cheaper by the day to shop at the grocery stores…” The observations in the news article are noteworthy for several reasons.
In 1971, as we debated the benefits of establishing a state ethanol development program, Big Oil reared its ugly head and quickly worked to discourage legislators by stating that ethanol used for fuel instead of food would be a policy that “starved children around the world.” Oil lobbyists swarmed into Lincoln and mounted a full court press to derail the proposed ethanol legislation.
In 2008 and 2012, Big Oil engaged the national cattle, pork, poultry and dairy lobbying organizations to actively campaign against ethanol. The national restaurant lobbying organization also campaigned against ethanol.
This cabal loudly and constantly lobbied against biofuels and stated, as they had for 40 years prior, that using grain to make fuel was akin to a crime against nature.
Well, the verdict is in, again. Big Oil continues to raise the specter of starving children and the notion that the false choice of “food or fuel” faces the country.
Facts have always shown otherwise. The “food pipeline is full,” according to all news accounts. Grocery store shelves are full of low-cost food. READ MORE