Guelph, Ontario – Grain farmers in Ontario are disputing a report that suggests crop-based ethanol is diverting corn from livestock use.
The Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) said that a report by the George Morris Centre, an independent agricultural think tank, is “falsely accusing” the ethanol industry of causing harm to livestock farmers.
In a statement, the GFO said that, “Since one-third of the corn used for ethanol becomes livestock feed through an ethanol byproduct called distillers grain, the effect of the ethanol industry in Ontario on our feed supply is negligible. In fact, the George Morris Centre report actually shows that livestock production has been maintained in recent years, and livestock prices have been at or near record high levels despite the growth of the ethanol industry.”
“There are so many examples of erroneous information in this report that I am disappointed Canadian livestock producers would choose to point a finger at the ethanol industry as the culprit for lost revenue,” said Don Kenny, chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario. “Many of my neighbours with livestock are also enjoying high grain prices so we are talking about the same farmers here.”
Corn yields in Ontario are growing at a rapid rate and without the ethanol industry to take the corn, there would be a significant glut in the market with a detrimental impact on corn farmer income, the GFO said. The increase in corn production since 2000 is almost equivalent to the increased amount of corn that goes into ethanol production.
The GFO said that while the study states there is unfair competition between livestock and ethanol grain buyers due to government subsidies and tariffs, Ontario farmers are not protected from an influx of American corn by a tariff, and that subsidies are not unique to the ethanol industry.
Canada has a mandate of 5 per cent ethanol in gasoline.