March 09, 2009

Ethanol Fact Check Needed In The Dairy Isle

Remember the days when information was given to a reporter and they checked the facts before they printed the story? Well, those days are long gone. A story in the news today about the troubles facing the dairy industry highlights this fact. One quote stood out to me.

Also, the high prices of corn, partly fueled by an increase in demand for ethanol, decreased the amount of acreage for barley and other grains dairy farmers purchase.

Over the last couple of years ethanol has been wrongly blamed for decreasing the acreage of many crops. A quick check of the USDA data shows this claim to be false also.

Barley Acres Planted

2008 - 4,234,000 acres
2007 - 4,018,000 acres
2006 - 3,452,000 acres

Looking up this information took less than a minute. Surely asking that reporters take a few minutes and check the facts of their stories isn't too much to ask.


Anonymous said...

I used to see a lot of dairy rations here in WI-out of maybe 100 rations I only know of one guy who even fed a small amount of barly, plus where I grew up (on a dairy) in another state- not one area farmer even planted barley. Barley genetics never kept up with other crops and thus not many chose to use it. The press indeed tend to publish far more unchecked opinions than fact. What is hurting dairy farmers are the lowest milk prices in YEARS.


Michael A. Gregory said...

True, the low price at present is a challenge to the dairy industry. Milk just went through a period of high prices and during that time farmers added to their production to cash in on those prices. As supply rose prices dropped. So now we have an oversupply of milk and low prices. Bad times for dairy but the thing that irritates me is that when milk prices were high ethanol was blamed. Now the dairy industry readily admits that it was export demand that fueled those high prices and is now tries to blame the current distress the dairy industry is feeling on ethanol.

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