U.S. Corn Scarcity Worsens
May 4, 2012 • 9:00AM

The U.S."corn deficit" is now so manifest, it is in almost daily coverage in the farm media. Corn users of all kinds are seeking contingency plans; for example, livestock producers turning to wheat.

The corn-guzzling ethanol plants are facing scarcity. This week an official of ADM — one of the world's largest grain companies, and maker of ethanol, noted that smaller biofuels facilities will close. On May 1, ADM chief operating officer Juan Luciano said that some plants may halt production this month, because corn supplies are so scarce.

In fact, if all 209 U.S. ethanol plants were to shut down this month, that would temporarily end the corn shortage! And extending a parity price to the corn growers involved — who formerly sold to the distilleries, or had co-op ownership in them — can preserve their productive capacity for returning to produce food for the general good.

But, no, as long as Obama is in office, such sane policy is impossible. The Obama Administration is not only decreeing corn for biofuels, but in fact, backs even more usage of food crops for expanding "bio-products" of all kinds. On Feb. 14, Obama issued an Executive Order on this.

One article on the corn deficit, often reprinted, is, "Can Corn KeepUp?" It is by an economist at Rabobank, the mega-agri-bank, and based on their recent report on corn shortages. On today's porknetwork.com, the article states; "While corn demand keeps rising, and growers have responded by planting more acres, not all are created equal. With corn going into less traditional areas [less suitable for corn] and rotational plantings being sacrificed for more corn-on-corn [year after year] production, yields will more likely fall short of the trend line.

In this context, it is notable that National Public Media's Marketplace radio show featured a story last evening on an extra 4 million acres of corn being planted in the U.S. this Spring, portending the possibility of a record harvest.