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Re: SC17

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May 22, 2006 09:31PM
http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060521/BUSINESS01/605210338/1001

Cost of raising corn grows
Prices for fuel, fertilizer eat into farmers' profit

.....Another factor beyond his control also will affect Worthington's 1,100-acre crop farming operation this year: high-priced diesel fuel, fertilizer, propane and other energy products. By his estimate, those costs will add $22 per acre to his production expenses on 750 acres of corn - $16,500 in all.

"When you put the LP costs and the fertilizer and the diesel together, you're talking serious dollars," said Worthington, a 43-year-old, third-generation Iowa farmer. "Something has to give."......

......Earlier this month, Iowa agribusiness leaders called on the U.S. Congress to loosen restrictions on oil and natural gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. U.S. law prohibits exploration of fields within 200 miles of the Gulf Coast. The newly formed Iowa Consumer Alliance for Energy Security wants Congress to change that.

"High energy costs are a hardship on all of us," Heartland Cooperative's Coppess said during a May 9 press conference at the Iowa Capitol in Des Moines. The group is part of a national coalition pushing for increased domestic production of energy sources. Iowans involved in the effort are calling for passage of a bill pending in the U.S. Senate that would allow production inside the 200-mile barrier.........

......"We need to open that up," Coppess said. "Our drying costs have gone up $800,000 to $1 million more per year, and there's no relief in sight."

For grain handlers, farm equipment manufacturers and other agribusinesses, energy costs have become the difference between red ink and black.

"Our business does very little without a lot of transportation fuel expense," said Magnuson, manager of the cooperative in Sully. "It's running the trucks. It's delivering feed. It's floaters in the field, and it's high-clearance sprayers. It's all of our equipment. So that increase is a very substantial part of the impact on our bottom line."........

The feedstock for everyone's favorite alternative fuel can't be grown without oil and natural gas. So rising demand for that liquid-fuel alternative is raising demand for ... the very liquid fuels it's an alternative too. The farmers are squealing, and anything that the US can drill in its domain has already been shown to be an inconsequential amount, when compared to the big picture of what our growing energy needs will be. So, still think ethanol's going to save us from the coming energy crisis?
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