Got Milk? Got Alcohol?


Checked the milk prices lately? The price has made quite a jump! Expect more of the same, maybe a lot more! Some of the rise in price is because of fuel cost. Some is because of another trend which is pulling dairymen out of the dairy biz. Dairymen and other farmers and ranchers are learning that it is more economically profitable to grow fuel grains than to milk cows. I suspect this trend will continue and expand in the future.

Ethanol production will likely rise, and be profitable as Americans begin to gradually shift over. There are some lesson we need to learn pretty quickly if we don’t want to have to learn them the hard way in a few years.

1. Don’t put all our eggs in one basket. We are just starting to wean ourselves from dependency on fossil fuels. The last thing in the world we need, is to become dependent on another SINGLE energy source. More so, with one that is dependent on weather conditions to be an ally. We need to be sure to diversify our potential sources and make sure that solar, wind, hydrogen and other potential sources continue to be researched as quickly as our minds can do it. We also need to maintain a strong position in the world concerning fossil fuel supplies, at least for long enough to make sure we can meet our needs in other ways.

2. The second item is related to the first. We need to make this move a carefully planned and sustainable one. If we cannot grow what we need in the fields on a sustainable level, we need to be sure that we don’t cause a planet wide de- vegetation process. There are enough people on our planet to make this a real possibility. This would be almost the ultimate paradox. The vegetation of the world sacrificed in order to get cleaner air!

3. We need to make certain that our agriculture for food production grows at a rate that can sustain our need for food. We don’t want so many farmers, ranchers and dairymen to move out of food production and into fuel production that we end up starving the next generation. Sure, more than the 2% who are currently providing for the other 98% of us will move into some form of ag production if the money is good enough, (it never really has been though) but that brings up point four.

4. If farming increases, particularly if it is done on a large scale by corporate farms, (Exon Corporate Farm, Hmm, that should raise a few eyebrows!) Then the amount of land used for farming of one type or the other would probably double. We need to be sure that good erosion controls, and responsible agricultural practices are indeed practiced. To not do so could cause another dust bowl or worse. Imagine thousands of tons of fertile farmlands being deposited at the mouths of our largest rivers, or blowing across the country in a two thousand mile dust cloud!

5.Don’t put all our genes in one basket. The issue of biodiversity needs to be addressed as well. If this occurs, and all or most of the grains are from the same genetic parentage, all that would be required for ruination would be the introduction of a fungus or something of that nature to evolve that tiny bit. This is where crop science and fuel production should become part and parcel. This should be of particular interest to the guys from homeland security! Bio terrorism at this critical juncture, could destroy food and fuel supplies. It is not JUST nature that we must deal with.

I have confidence in Americas farmers, that they can and will produce adequate supplies to meet our needs on both fronts. They are Americas most important assets, and the unsung Hero’s of our culture. Two percent of our population, who feed the rest of us, and a lot of other people too. I trust the farmers, It’s these other guys that worry me.

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