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Cattle group pulls out of Food Before Fuel Coalition

Friday, March 20, 2009

The price of cattle feed hit a record high in 2008.
The price of cattle feed hit a record high in 2008.

In an effort to curtail government subsidies of ethanol, the National Cattlemen’s 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 coalition’s 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 don’t ask for subsidies, just equal footing."

NCBA said reducing or eliminating the renewable fuels mandate, the blender’s tax credit and the import tariff for the ethanol industry would lower feed prices for ranchers.
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