Drought sparks food vs. fuel debate - KETV Omaha

KETV - July 20, 2012

SHENANDOAH, Iowa - The worst drought in decades is fueling a 50 percent surge in corn prices and a fierce debate on whether we should be using corn for food or fuel.

Under the Clean Air Act signed into law in 2007, at least 10 percent of gasoline needs to be blended with ethanol.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects nearly 40 percent of this year's total corn crop to go to the ethanol industry. But that's a tough number for the beef industry to swallow.

Green Plains Renewable Energy puts out 65 million gallons of ethanol each year. That takes 23 million bushels of corn to make, and that ingredient is threatened by the drought.

"We're getting a lot of volatility," said CEO Todd Becker. "It's really hard to predict what's going to happen next year."

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