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Corn growers question high food costs
Buckeye Farm News
Ohio farm and renewable fuel groups have fired back at food manufacturers who have pinned rising grocery prices on corn-based ethanol.
At a Statehouse press conference, Dwayne Siekman, executive director of the Ohio Corn Growers Association, said food company profits continue to rise while corn prices have dropped by more than 50 percent since their peak last summer.
Corn had reached $7.88 per bushel earlier this year but had fallen to $3.80 per bushel when Siekman addressed the media in late November.
“The question we’re asking is ‘where is the drop in food prices?’” Siekman said.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents businesses such as Kraft Foods and Kellogg Co., has called for reforms to the nation’s ethanol policy, linking corn prices to food costs.
Siekman said ethanol played a role in raising the cost of corn, but last year’s unusually high crop prices were a result of speculation and other factors. The main reason consumers were paying more at the grocery is due to the run-up in fuel prices, he said. Now that both corn and petroleum prices have fallen, Siekman said there is no excuse for food prices to be so high.
Asked if food companies are blaming higher prices on ethanol as a way to increase their bottom lines, Siekman replied, “Time and time again, we see that is the case.”