Tolman Calls for Food Price Cut

Corn growers CEO also touts ethanol as energy solution.

Speaking at the Economics of Ethanol conference, National Corn Growers Association Chief Executive Officer Rick Tolman called on food manufacturers to lower food prices since commodity and energy prices have dropped from all-time highs earlier this year. He also spoke about the importance of ethanol as an energy solution to dependence on foreign oil.

"Corn prices have dropped by about half since earlier this year, yet food prices have remained high and are expected by some to remain high," Tolman said. "With commodity and energy costs now significantly lower, it's time for food companies to take a hard look at the prices they've increased – often, for smaller packages designed to look like the larger-sized packages."

The conference was sponsored by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Washington University's Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government and Public Policy; and the university's International Center for Advanced Renewable Energy and Sustainability. Presentations and discussions on the profitability of corn ethanol processing, the costs and benefits of corn ethanol as a fuel source, the impact of the ethanol boom on rural America, and the future of biofuels were the focus of the conference.

"Ethanol is an important part of America's balanced energy sector and needs to play a bigger part if we are to reduce our dependence on foreign oil with a fuel source that is home-grown and renewable," Tolman said. "At this time of economic crisis, U.S. ethanol production supports jobs and communities in rural America while boosting our nation's gross domestic product and paying its share of taxes to fund important government programs."

Tolman made a presentation on increased efficiency, reduced land impact and technology in today's corn farming.

"We're seeing great strides being made in corn production, thanks in great part to technology," Tolman said. "While we are growing corn on about the same acreage as back in the 1940s, we've seen production more than quadruple. Back then, you would have needed a farm the size of Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico to grow that much corn."

To view Tolman's presentation, click HERE.

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