Milk Producers Council
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PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release

Wednesday, December 8, 2010
For Questions, Contact Rob Vandenheuvel, General Manager of Milk Producers Council (909) 628-6018

Click HERE for a printable pdf version of this press release.

Dairy Farmers Urging Congress to Stop Subsidizing the Burning of Our Food

CALIFORNIAAs the debate over extending the expiring “Bush-era” tax rates heats up in Congress, there has been very little talk in the media about efforts by the corn and ethanol lobbies to continue padding their pockets with billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded subsidies.  As news reporters are buzzing about an agreement in Washington, DC on the structure of a tax bill to be considered this month, few are reporting on whether Congress will include an extension of the “ethanol blender’s credit” – a tax credit currently worth $.45 per gallon to the oil/gas companies that blend ethanol with their fuel.  The 2004 legislation that created this temporary subsidy, which is costing taxpayers about $6 billion-per-year, scheduled it to terminate on December 31, 2010.  The corn and ethanol lobbies are attempting to use the broader tax discussion to extend this taxpayer giveaway beyond the six years planned by the original legislation.

The net result of our nation’s ethanol policy is the burning of about 1/3 of our annual corn production as fuel.  With everyone else forced to fight over the remaining corn, we’ve seen prices skyrocket to historic highs.  In just the last six months, corn prices have shot up almost 60%!  For the U.S. dairy industry, which relies on a corn supply to feed our animals, one industry expert estimates that during that time, the cost of feeding our cows has shot up almost $4.00 for every 100 lbs of milk we produce.  That means for the average California dairy farm milking 1,000 cows, the cost of feeding those cows is now about $74,000 per month more than it was just 6 months ago - an increase of almost $900,000 per year!

“Dairy families are scratching their heads trying to figure out how Congress can justify this taxpayer giveaway to the corn and ethanol industries at the expense of our livestock industries,” said Rob Vandenheuvel, General Manager of Milk Producers Council.  “This policy of burning our nation’s corn is truly threatening our ability to grow a domestic food supply.  This policy is indefensible, and needs to be stopped now.”

Milk Producers Council is part of a broad coalition that has come together to advocate for the expiration of these generous subsidies.  This is a coalition of widely-diverse groups, including conservative and liberal organizations, livestock groups and environmental organizations.  A letter to Congress from this coalition is included in the links below.  The effort has already helped secure a bi-partisan letter signed by 17 U.S. Senators supporting the expiration of these ethanol subsidies.  That coalition will continue its efforts to advocate for the expiration of these subsidies through the coming weeks as Congress wraps up its “lame-duck” session.

Links to supporting documents:

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November 29, 2010, Letter from the Coalition to Let the Ethanol Subsidies Expire

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November 30, 2010, Bi-Partisan Letter Signed by 17 U.S. Senators 

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December 4, 2010, Press Release from the Coalition to Let the Ethanol Subsidies Expire

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