SD Corn Producers Launch Food vs. Fuel Campaign

South Dakota Corn Producers Launch Consumer Education Campaign to Dispel Myths of "Food vs Fuel."

South Dakota corn producers will soon begin harvesting the largest corn crop on record, an anticipated 559 million bushels. As a result, South Dakota agriculture will reach a new milestone that will positively impact the state's livestock and ethanol industries, as well as the overall economy.

However, during this time of unprecedented production, food and fuel prices are rising. What does this have to do with corn production? Nothing.

To present the facts and dispel the myths surrounding the "food vs fuel" debate, the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council has launched Kernels of Truth, a statewide information and consumer education campaign. The campaign is intended to reach consumers, retailers, and media throughout the state about the positive effect corn has on South Dakota's economy.

"We have been taking some heat for the rise in food costs, and consumers need to understand corn's role in the overall food industry and its correlation to food prices," Jerry Rubendall, president of the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council said. "The Kernels of Truth information program will educate consumers with facts regarding the relationship between corn prices and food prices at the supermarket and fuel costs at the pump.

"For example, only 19 cents of every food dollar is attributed to the actual cost of food inputs such as grains and oilseeds. The remaining 81 cents includes labor, transportation, packaging, marketing and energy costs. Numerous studies show that corn prices have minimal impact on the prices consumers pay for food products. Two important points to stress are that energy prices are the major factor in increased food costs, not corn. Also, the supply of corn to the retail food industry has not changed."

SDCUC's education campaign addresses the important relationship between the production of corn and it's impact on the state's livestock and ethanol industries. According to Rubendall, South Dakota's ethanol plants have a consistent supply of corn to produce ethanol and livestock producers benefit from a reliable supply of dried distillers grains, an economical and efficient feed source for cattle, hogs and poultry derived from the production of ethanol from corn.

"It's truly a win-win situation for our corn producers, our ethanol and livestock industries and our state's economy," Rubendall said. And better yet, these benefits come with minimal impact on consumer food prices. The Kernels of Truth initiative presents the facts concerning the role corn plays in food and fuel prices. We're asking the media and all South Dakotans to realize the positive role increased corn production is playing in our state. It's an important story that needs to be told."

What is "Kernels of Truth"? In short it's about food, fuel and farming in South Dakota. But deeper than that, it's what consumers need to know about their food and fuel source:

  • When corn prices are high, how does that really affect food prices?
  • What is the value of the corn represented in food products?
  • How do increased corn prices benefit consumers of food and feed?
  • How does ethanol actually keep food prices lower?
  • What is the true impact of strong corn prices on livestock producers?
  • How will the interdependent relationships of food, fuel and farming benefit South Dakota?

To learn more about the Kernels of Truth information and education program, contact Krystil Smit at the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council, (605.334.0100) or e-mail her at ksmit@sdcorn.org

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