U.S.D.A. examines food prices, biofuels not to blame

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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WASHINGTON— The U.S. Department of Agriculture on May 20 released an economic analysis showing higher energy prices, increased worldwide demand and the weather are the primary factors contributing to higher food prices, not biofuels.

In a briefing on the report, Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer noted that oil prices have climbed to record rates this year, and that global biofuels production cut crude oil consumption by 1 million barrels a day, per International Energy Agency data.

"Developing diversity in our portfolio of fuels is if anything an even more urgent matter than it has been in the past," Mr. Schafer said. "And it is one that remains central to our energy security and our national security. The policy choices we have made on biofuels will deliver long-term benefits."

Mr. Schafer went on to criticize recent efforts to repeal U.S. biofuels policy, and urged the focus to stay on long-term solutions.

"The need for food and fuel is only going to grow," he said.

Industry associations applauded the report, and reiterated the commitment to explore alternative fuels.

"The press conference today echoed our message to consumers that corn ethanol production plays just a small role in food price increases," said Ron Litterer, president of the National Corn Growers Association. "American corn farmers will continue to work to meet the country’s food, fuel, and feed needs."

The U.S.D.A. posted the economic analysis and charts on-line at www.usda.gov.

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