March 13, 2009

Ethanol Fact Check Needed In The Bird Seed Aisle

This is another post about how the media is all too willing to place the blame on ethanol without even checking the facts.

An article in the news talks about how the price of bird seed has gone up and points the blame at ethanol.

Another factor driving the price of sunflower seeds up over the past few years has been farmers planting less sunflowers as many planted more corn instead to reap government dollars during the ethanol boom, Willard said.

A check of the data at the USDA shows that this assumption is incorrect.

Sunflower Seed Acres Planted

2008 - 2,516,500 acres
2007 - 2,070,000 acres
2006 - 1,950,000 acres

Somebody needs to clue reports in on the fact that just because something has gone up in price doesn't always mean that it lost acres to corn production.


Anonymous said...

For about 10 years I bought about 3 semi loads of bagged black oil sunflower seed and a few pallets of grey stripe sunflower per year. The price was always all over the board- one year I would pay $4.50/50# bag, next year $7, then $9, then $5. The issue was always quality (would the seed make grade), feed/oil use, and mostly variable yields. Ethanol afffecting the price of such a luxury item? That sounds like a new excuse to me. Some writer got sucked into that w/o checking facts again.


Michael A. Gregory said...

Over the last year or so there have been quite a few reporters that have done the same thing on everything from wheat and barley to hay, popcorn and hops. Sometimes I think that reporters have been programmed to think that when the price of something goes up it must be because of corn stealing away acres.

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