back to article Corn-fuel demand drives meat off America's plate

Corn shortages pushed the price of corn to such a high in Mexico last month that thousands marched in protest. Now, the price soaring of corn feed means the US might just find itself on an enforced diet too, as the farm industry reports a second significant fall in the output of beef and chicken. Last year, the US petrol …

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Joe

HFCS

Maybe it's time for the Gov't to stop the corn subsidies to companies that produce High Fructose Corn Syrup and focus on ethanol.

Let's use sugar to sweeten stuff again.

HFCS will kill ya.

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hiccup

The Canadian government is now running country wide ads endorsing the growing of corn and other crops for the production of ethanol. I doubt that increased prices for chicken and beef will amount to more than a hiccup while the market adjusts itself.

Last year a story came out announcing cultured cells produced by a new process able to produce hamburger sized tissue mass. I'm much more interested in seeing the commercialization of cultured meat free of carcinogens and other baddies. Soon meat off the hoof will be poor peoples food. Of course now it's just, uhm, you know, food for thought... I'll get my coat.

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Corn for fuel is only good for corn growers

Yet another reason why this whole corn-based ethanol thing is a bad idea. Besides the fact that it consumes about the same amount of fuel as it produces (some analysis shows more, some shows less, but even in the best reasonably-likely case the gain is miniscule; the same gain could be had just by making cars slightly more fuel efficient), it also messes up the corn market even more than government subsidies have already messed it up.

Why are corn farmers powerful enough to get subsidies and to lobby for this ridiculous corn-to-ethanol nonsense? Because it's a huge, wealthy industry. Why is it a huge, wealthy industry? Because the farmers are powerful enough to get subsidies.

As a result, we get an economy that doesn't respond to real needs, we get really nasty-tasting soda, we get a lot of research and infrastructure dollars put into corn-ethanol production for no good reason whatever, and to top it all off we get starving people south of the border. All because of a leech-like, self-perpetuating political lobby.

If you're going to make biofuel, use another plant, PLEASE!

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What About Meat Subsidies?

Interesting article. I would have liked to see more sources cited though. Also let's follow up to see the ridiculous subsidies that will be given to the meat industry. They're already on the government teet in a big big way.

In the long run, prices won't change much for meat. More taxes will just be allotted to increase the welfare dole for meat producers. It's true that farmers are a disproportionately powerful lobby, like the AMA and NRA. The Farm Bureau is pure evil, but now, huge multinationals are taking over the farming sector (Cargill, ADM, etc) which may actually bring even more political muscle to bear. First and foremost we need to eliminate all meat and dairy and egg subsidies. Then the market will correct.

I hope El Reg follows the subsidies on the meat and corn market.

High fructose corn syrup is bad in hat it's in everything. Its used heavily in the US because sugar is so expensive. And that's because the US sugar lobby long ago got congress to pass laws to make it expensive to import sugar or other natural sweeteners like Stevia.

>I'm much more interested in seeing the commercialization of

>cultured meat free of carcinogens and other baddies

Probably not possible since meat appears to be inherently carcinogenic. Especially if you cook it. Which you have to, otherwise there will be other carcinogenic risks like certain viruses- only some of which are harmed by cooking. Even some bacteria are though to have an indirect cancer-causing effect.

I do agree that "cultured meat" is the lesser of evils compared to the abusive system we have now.

I have heard it questioned whether corn as fuel makes any sense because you put in as much, sometimes more energy than you get out of the ethanol. Switchgrass is a more efficient crop for that.

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Anonymous Coward

Hemp fuel

Something useful to do with your marijuana stems & seeds.

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Anonymous Coward

Wheat Subsidies

Why not pay wheat farmers to grow corn on the fields that the Gov't is paying them to not grow wheat on?

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Missing the point

Undoubtedly removing MTBE will be a good thing unless increased cancer rates is your goal.

I don't know why corn was picked in the Americas and wheat is chosen by the UK. Biomass of any sort can be transformed to ethanol, even grass or garden clippings. Personally I think it's stupid to use food items for this endeavor.

Kibble

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