AMI worried about impact of ethanol policy on animal agriculture

by Editor
Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The American Meat Institute (AMI) urges the U.S. congress to take steps to minimize the impact of ethanol policy on animal agriculture.

According to a testimony of AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle, which has been submitted to the House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures, the Congress and the Administration should consider tax incentives and other legislative vehicles to support energy-based opportunities for animal agriculture because of the increased demands on corn from the ethanol industry.

Boyle said that dramatically increased demand for corn has pressed market forces to demand higher feed prices. As a result, animal agriculture producers are considering alternatives to their feeding, nutrition, and dietary regimen which, in turn, impacts meat and poultry quality, consumer offerings, livestock and poultry farm efficiency, and the management of livestock and poultry operations.

Boyle urged Congress to take actions in four key areas to mitigate the impact of dramatically increased corn demand. The four actions he urged Congress to take were:

1) Expand research in ethanol by-product safety, quality, and usability and renewable energy technologies, such as renewable diesel, biogas and cellulosic. Boyle noted that several reputable studies on distillers grains have been done, but animal agriculture producers are in need of dietary solutions that they can employ on their farming and production operations.

2) Establish equity of incentives for all renewable energy including renewable diesel and methane conversion. Boyle said that AMI believes that the U.S. and the world need a policy that supports a broad diversity of energy options and renewable energy sources to supply the energy and transportation needs of today and the future as long as the tax benefits are equitable.

3) Support a working lands conservation program to encourage environmentally friendly feed stuffs production. Boyle mentioned that this type of program would remove the regulatory and/or legislative restrictions on producers that elect to grow crops on land currently locked in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), but still maintain environmental benefits to the land.

4) Expose consumers to more renewable fuels by allowing the ethanol tariff to expire.