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Pork producers ask for end to ethanol tax credit
WASHINGTON, D.C., — Citing concerns about the availability of corn to feed pigs, the National Pork Producers Council last week asked Congress to let an ethanol tax credit and a tariff on imported ethanol expire and to allow conservation lands to go back into crop production.

The organization testified before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Horticulture on the impact of the rapid expansion of the ethanol sector on the livestock industry.

“U.S. pork producers support the development and use of alternative and renewable fuels as a way to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil,” Joy Philippi, immediate past president of NPPC and a producer from Bruning, Neb., told the congressional panel, “but we continue to have the jitters over the rapid expansion of the corn-based ethanol industry and the unintended consequences it is having on the U.S. livestock industry. We have concerns about the availability of corn to feed our pigs.”

NPPC told the subcommittee that some projections show the ethanol industry using 10 billion bushels of corn by 2010. The U.S. produced 10.75 billion bushels last year, and the livestock industry alone used more than 6 billion of that. (Pork used 1.1 billion bushels.)

Corn availability concerns prompted pork producers at NPPC’s recently concluded annual business meeting to approve several resolutions related to ethanol, including support for the end to the 51-cent per gallon ethanol blender’s tax credit and the 54-cent tariff on imported ethanol to expire. The blender’s credit is set to expire Dec. 31, 2010; the import tariff Dec. 31, 2008.

“We want a level playing field to compete for corn,” Philippi told the subcommittee. “And we will work with Congress to craft a free-market-based bio-fuels policy that will ensure the fuel, food and feed security of our country.”

Keith Bolin, president of the American Corn Growers Assoc. and a hog and corn farmer from Manlius, Ill., took exception to NPPC’s new policy. “I was shocked to hear that an organization of pork producers wants to dismantle one of the nation’s most positive incentive programs for helping America move toward energy independence,” said Bolin. “I believe that all American farmers want to end the nation’s dependence on imported oil.”