In an effort to curtail government subsidies of ethanol, the National Cattlemens Beef Association (NCBA) said last week it is withdrawing as a member of the Food Before Fuel Coalition (FBFC).
Since January of 2008, inflated cattle feed prices have cost ranchers an estimated $4 billion, the NCBA said. High corn prices and increased input costs have forced many producers to reduce their herd sizes.
Gary Voogt, president of NCBA, said the coalitions work has broadened while "we remain focused on a single goal: ensuring a level playing field for our cattle producers."
Soaring feed costs the account for 60 to 70 percent of total livestock production costs in any given year, according to a report from the Congressional research service. U.S. feed expenses were forecast to reach $48 billion in 2008, a jump of 26 percent from 2007.
"Soaring feed costs and government payments to the ethanol industry are hurting small businesses and family ranches," Voogt said. "Cattle producers dont ask for subsidies, just equal footing."
NCBA said reducing or eliminating the renewable fuels mandate, the blenders tax credit and the import tariff for the ethanol industry would lower feed prices for ranchers.