High Crop Prices, Ethanol Mandates, and the Public Good: Do They Coexist?

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2015-07-21
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Babcock, Bruce
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Center for Agricultural and Rural Development

The Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) conducts innovative public policy and economic research on agricultural, environmental, and food issues. CARD uniquely combines academic excellence with engagement and anticipatory thinking to inform and benefit society.

CARD researchers develop and apply economic theory, quantitative methods, and interdisciplinary approaches to create relevant knowledge. Communication efforts target state and federal policymakers; the research community; agricultural, food, and environmental groups; individual decision-makers; and international audiences.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released estimates that tell us the nation’s farmers are responding to high corn prices by planning a 15 percent increase in their corn acreage. If these intentions translate into actual plantings, and if growing conditions are at least reasonable, then 2007 corn production will be more than suffi cient to meet all demands, and corn prices should moderate. Lower corn prices would be good news for livestock feeders and ethanol plants because their profi t margins would be greater than either expected.

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