European Biotech Resistance

In Biotechnology, Farming, International by Cindy

It was pretty evident at last week’s World Food Prize symposium in Des Moines that European nations remain the most resistant to biotech crops. But some farmers are bucking the system. Oliver Ransmann of Germany participated in a Truth about Trade and Technology farmer roundtable that included over 20 producers from nearly as many countries discussing the benefits and challenges …

UN Unaware Corn Prices are Falling

In Ethanol, Food Prices, International by Cindy

On Tuesday, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization called for a review of “current policies supporting, subsidizing and mandating biofuel production and use” because demand for biofuels, such as ethanol or biodiesel, was leading to “continued upward pressure” on the price of agricultural commodities. However, commodity prices are falling – and rapidly. Right along with the stock market, corn …

A Look at China’s Corn Crop

In Farming, International, State Groups by Cindy

Representatives of the U.S. Grains Council recently returned from their China Corn Tour, which is conducted every year to try and get a handle on production, yields and demand, since there is no source of reliable corn crop estimates from the Chinese government. The tour consisted of four groups of agriculturists evaluating nearly 300 cornfields. Charles Ring of the Texas …

Producing Food and Fuel to Fight Poverty

In Ethanol, Farming, International by Cindy

This week’s summit on the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations seemed to focus precious little time on how agriculture can help end global poverty and hunger. In fact, it was sad to see that the whole summit seemed to focus more on problems than solutions. However, a pre-summit private industry forum did offer some constructive suggestions, and one …

Former EU Commissioner on Ethanol and Trade Talks

In Audio, Ethanol, Food vs Fuel, International, Trade by Cindy

The former commissioner of agriculture for the European Union says the food versus fuel controversy is unfair. “They don’t differentiate between food price and agriculture price and the agriculture price is usually only a small component of the final food product,” Franz Fischler told me during an interview in Austria Friday. Fischler says that second generation biofuels will be key …

Journalists in the Corn

In Ethanol, Farming, International, Media by Cindy

Some 260 agricultural journalists from all over the world are on an annual congress this week that goes to a different country every year. This year it is Austria and Slovenia. One of the excursions in Austria was to a biomass facility in the southern part of the country where nearly all of the town of Gussing has locally generated …

Surprise! OPEC Hates Biofuels

In Current News, Ethanol, International by Ken

Is it a good or bad thing that OPEC (the cartel of Oil and Petroleum Exporting Countries) hates biofuels? On July 6, OPEC president Chakib Khelil of Algeria was quoted saying that “the intrusion of bioethanol on the market” was responsible for 40 percent of the incrrease in oil prices. The weak U.S. dollar and “geopolitical worries” were responsible for …

What World Bank Report Says – and Doesn’t Say

In Current News, Food Prices, International by Cindy

The World Bank report released earlier this month has gotten quite a bit of media attention lately, especially regarding its concern about biofuels production. During a press conference with President Bush Tuesday, a reporter said, “The World Bank says about 85 percent of the increase in corn price since 2002 is due to biofuel — increased demand for biofuels.” Near …

Response to Saudi Criticism of Ethanol

In Ethanol, Food vs Fuel, International by Cindy

During an appearance in Paris last week, Minister Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi said, “Let’s be realistic, ethanol and biofuels will not contribute to the protection of the global environment by reducing (carbon dioxide) emissions, they will not increase energy security, nor will they reduce dependency on fossil fuels to any appreciable degree.” “Their cultivation eats into the human food supply, …

Corn Growers Can Help US Get Off Oil

In Current News, Ethanol, International by Cindy

President Bush had a pretty simple message Wednesday at the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference 2008 (WIREC). “America has got to change its habits. We’ve got to get off oil.” No kidding. About the time he was making that statement, crude oil on the New York mercantile exchange jumped nearly $4 on falling oil inventories, trading over $104 a barrel …