A big push on ethanol has worked. The industry is flourishing in Missouri, but not all farmers are happy. At least on one lawmaker says the push for ethanol has devastated farmers in his area.
Sen. Chuck Purgason (R-Caulfield) says ethanol has raised the cost of corn, which has raised the cost of feed, which is driving dairy farmers out of business in his south-central Missouri district. Purgason says it has already devastated his feeder pig operations, leaving few hog farmers left. He says fertilizer costs have also been driven up as more and more farmers plant more and more acres of corn. That has driven up costs in other farm sectors.
Purgason tells State Agriculture Director Katie Smith during a hearing at the Capitol that he doesn’t care much for the state mandate that nearly all gas sold in Missouri must contain at least 10% ethanol. Purgason points out his district raises little corn and has derived little benefit from the mandate.
Smith says she understands his concerns, but has faith the markets will sort things out. She says it will also help once it becomes more common to use the by-products of ethanol production, such as Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles (DDGS), for livestock feed. The ethanol industry has touted DDGS as a high nutrient feed for the livestock.