Renewable fuel standard is too costly

September 17, 2013

It's strange that Reid Detchon calls for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to endure given that his employer — the United Nations — has repeatedly pleaded with the United States to reign in this biofuels policy due to its detrimental effects on global food prices ("How Big Poultry sided with Big Oil," Sept. 11).

Last year, more than 40 percent of the nation's corn crop went to ethanol production — not food — because the RFS requires that more and more ethanol be blended into our gasoline. This rising demand for corn has forced prices for the commodity up by nearly 40 percent since 2005, to the detriment of U.S. food producers and hungry families.

As corn comprises nearly 70 percent of the feed given to animals, rising prices directly affect farmers' bottom lines. Since the RFS was aggressively escalated in 2007, average annual feed costs have skyrocketed by $8.8 billion for poultry producers, jumping 32 percent higher in 2012 alone.

The RFS has also meant pricier trips to the store for consumers. Chicken costs 35 percent more while beef, pork, egg and fish prices have collectively increased 79 percent since the policy's establishment. Last year, the average U.S. family of four faced a $2,000 increase in food costs due to higher corn prices brought on largely by the RFS.

The RFS is causing severe economic harm to our food producers and the consumers they provide for.

Without change, more than 15,000 Delmarva farm families and chicken processing employees face financial harm, along with the hungry folks their livelihood serves.

Mike Brown, Washington

The writer is president of the National Chicken Council.

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