The most severe and extensive drought in at least 25 years… The 2012 drought destroyed or damaged portions of the major field crops in the Midwest, particularly field corn and soybeans. This led to increases in the farm prices of corn, soybeans, and other field crops and, in turn, led to price increases for other inputs in the food supply such as animal feed. Though we saw some price increases for meats and animal-based products in the fourth quarter of 2012, most of the impacts on retail food prices were expected to occur in 2013.
Certain aspects of US biofuels policy are easily counted, supported, and governed, like reducing corn surplus, fossil fuel consumption, GHG emissions, or dependence on foreign oil. Other policy issues are less easily confronted, such as addressing longstanding and unequal political economic relationships in agriculture or supporting conservation initiatives at odds with increasing corn production. Instead of addressing less tractable issues, policymakers and politicians make implicit assumptions that benefits will accrue to all and portraying US ethanol producing regions as happily accepting a new golden opportunity. For example, Iowa’s Republican Senator Charles E. Grassley, during campaigns for the 2008 US Presidential election, said, ‘Nowadays, I think [Iowa voters] kind of expect people to be for ethanol – whether they’re newly born- again ethanol people, or old-fashioned, long-term ethanol people’ (Murray 2007).
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