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AP Article Stirs Ethanol Debate

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An article published by the Associated Press is causing alarm among corn growers. Mostly because that article condemns the ethanol industry.

However, producers say the ethanol industry is good for not just the farmers, but for the entire economy.

Dale Busch says, "We always say ethanol is clean and renewable and homegrown."

That was not the message that came out of an article published by the Associated Press.

Rather, the article takes a harsh blow to the ethanol industry: Claiming it badly hurts the environment.

And while the article raises valid concerns, corn growers throughout the area say many of those claims are misleading and unfair.

"Extremely disappointed in the article. It's not fair. I can't say it's an outright lie, bit it's misleading and half truths."

One of the main concerns the AP sites is the use of Conservation Reserve Program lands for planting corn.

That was backed by a USDA report that said the number of acres of planted corn has grown by nearly 1.5 million in Minnesota alone.

However the 2008 Farm Bill reduced the amount of acres needed to be on reserve from 38 million to 32 million as part of a cost–saving effort, meaning the land was no longer required to be preserved for conservation.

Busch says, "You cut 6 million acres out of conservation, farmers aren't just gonna not get paid for that, even just leave it and let it sit. They're gonna put something on it and some went to corn and some went into beans and wheat."

And while there's no denying that corn growers have seen an increased profit, AG expert Kent Thiesse says it's not just because of ethanol.

Kent Thiesse says, "Corn production has been highly profitable in the past 5–6 years, part of that has been given by increased demand not just for the ethanol but a strong export demand."

And as long as the conservationists have a voice and the ethanol industry grow, this debate may be far from over.