Friday, May 09, 2008

Harkin: Corn-Fed Food-Fuel Debate False

U.S. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, has weighed in on the ongoing debate swirling around the economic and moral aspects of using commodities such as corn for fuel when food prices are skyrocketing and millions of people are starving or "food insecure."

Harkin said the debate presents a false choice, a myth, as the rise of ethanol facilities is not the culprit with higher food prices and hunger.

"It's not what we don't know, it's what we know that ain't so," Harkin said, quoting the humorist Will Rogers, in a conference call with Iowa Independent and other media.

Harkin said input costs for food production such as fertilizer, fuel, distribution are conspiring with higher demand from China and India as well as the relatively low dollar, to hike prices for consumers.

"You add all those up, that's what's causing the high food prices," Harkin said.

He noted that there is much protein left in corn after it used for ethanol production so it has use with livestock, and that the type of corn is different for food products and fuels.

"You really aren't losing much at all when you make ethanol," Harkin said.

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