“If they want to come to
On the contrary. The Humane Society of the
A coalition of Nebraska livestock farmers’ groups expects HSUS to attempt to introduce a petition to place restrictions on animal agriculture on a statewide ballot, as the group has done recently other states, like Missouri. For your meat, dairy and egg customers expressing concern about the welfare of farm animals based on exposure to the HSUS messages, it’s important you remind them of a few facts about the organization:
With increasing food inflation comes the continual claim that using Nebraska farm crops to support domestic biofuel production is leading to crop shortages. You may find customers raising the old question: Does "diverting" crops to fuel production cause rising food costs? Some would even have you believe that using farm products to produce biofuels is depriving people of food.
Here's some background that might help explain the complex issue:
1. Oil used to be only a byproduct of using soybeans for feed.
First off, remember, there is no food vs. fuel issue when it comes to biodiesel. Traditionally, (that is, before researchers discovered ways to use the oil that naturally results when soybeans are processed), soybean oil was for all intent and purpose a byproduct of that processing. Because the weight of every ton of soybeans was composed of only 20 percent oil--the rest being soy protein meal and hulls--the system made money off the solids, but struggled to find value for the remaining oil.
Now, with the development of the biodiesel industry boosting demand for soybeans to be crushed first and foremost for their oil value, it's actually put pressure downward on the value of the 80 percent solids left over from the process. Remember Econ 101: As supply goes up, price tends to go down (unfortunately for us farmers, but fortunately for you and your consumers.) Using soybeans for oil has not robbed from the overall supply of animal feeds (the largest use of soy solids)--it has actually contributed to the supply.
2. Biofuel demand has encouraged soybean production, creating more animal feed, leading to more meat, milk and egg production.
Second, the decrease in feed prices that has resulted from higher supplies of soy protein has helped grow the supply of animals, which also helps keep the prices you pay for animal-based commodities relatively lower. The more demand we create for soybean oil, the greater the volume of beans that are crushed domestically and the more feed that enters the market for livestock producers. In order to use up the soy products left after crushing a ton of soybeans, Nebraska farmers need to add one hog to use up the meal resulting from every 4 gallons of biodiesel production. Likewise, we need two turkeys for every gallon of biodiesel, 10 chickens for every gallon, or one dairy cow for every 17 gallons of biodiesel produced. Again, our loss as farmers through the increasing supply of food animals is your gain as the grocer, through the decrease in price that results.
3. Cheaper energy sources ultimately means cheaper food.
Third, we certainly don't have to tell grocers how higher energy prices have greatly added to the costs of transporting, processing, manufacturing, storing and distributing the food you sell. What you may not realize is that those higher energy prices also have dramatically increased the prices we farmers are paying for the inputs we need to plant, grow and harvest our crops. Compared to just two years ago, farmers today are paying twice as much for the diesel fuel they need to run their tractors, combines and grain trucks. That's not even the worst of it. Fertilizer, which requires a great deal of energy to produce, has quadrupled in price.
Biofuels, not only biodiesel from soybeans but ethanol from other grains, are making a contribution to the world’s fuel supply, helping hold gasoline and diesel prices lower at the pump for us all. According to International Energy Agency data, global biofuels production has cut consumption of crude oil by 1 million barrels a day, offering savings of $120 million dollars a day. That’s more than $43 billion in savings per year. And while these homegrown, renewable fuels are helping to reduce dependence on imported petroleum, the demand for biofuels is contributing to commodity prices well above government support levels, strengthening rural economies by creating jobs--without requiring an increase in the price of food commodities.
For more than 40 years, the United States has known that it needs to reduce its energy consumption and find alternative energy sources. As other voices call for increased public investments in mass transit, denser cities, mandatory efficiency standards and other fuel-saving schemes outside the free market, even as they attack support for biofuels, we believe investing in increased production of home-grown alternatives are the most innovative energy solutions. The use of biodiesel and other biofuels is only the beginning.