A nationally-recognized critic of global warming claims and of organic farming tells Missouri farmers that ethanol production is a bad investment–for them and for the world.
Director Dennis Avery with the Center for Global Food Issues maintains ethanol production is an inefficient use of farmland and an ineffective way to reduce reliance on foreign oil. He tells the Governor’s Conference on Agriculture that farmers have to ask themselves how many acres should be diverted from food production at a time when world food demand is climbing rapidly.
And it’s not just people that are causing that increased demand. He says more parts of the world are becoming affluent, with China showing the sharpest growth. Avery says affluence is causing more people to seek the companionship of household pets. "If they match our pet ownership fifty years from now, that will be half a billion companion cats and dogs, none of them vegetarian," he says.
The result of the greater demand for food, he says, will require a tripling the yields of food from the best farmland or the destruction of remaining wildlife habitat to create enough land to produce adequate amounts of food.
Avery fears a backlash will build against high fuel costs and the lower mileage produced by ethanol, causing the demand for biofuels to crash, leading to a drop in farmland values, perhaps even public anger against farmers for causing high food prices and food shortages because food production land has been used for ethanol production.
Avery maintains high-yield farming will be needed after biofuels lose their glamour. His advice to farmers: Make sure you don’t get hurt.
(If you want to hear Avery’s entire presentation, click on this link: