Does Ethanol Production Raise the Price of Meat?

Since most of the corn grown in the United States is feed for animals, wouldn't the ethanol industry raise meat prices? According to the studies, the answer is yes, but only slightly. Part of the reason for this is that making ethanol out of corn only removes the starch. The protein, fat and fiber is not used, and is then sold for animal feed — a very high-quality animal feed, called distillers grains.

Not only is the protein and fat left over, but the fermentation process actually adds to the protein and vitamin content. The fermenting process adds protein and B vitamins (yeast is high in both, and during fermentation, the number of yeast cells increases rapidly — they multiply and convert some of the sugars into protein).

There's another factor many people are unaware of. Most of the corn that goes to feed animals goes to beef. And cows don't digest starch very well. It gives them acidosis. Ethanol production removes the starch and leaves the protein, fats, vitamins and minerals, and then that is fed to the cows, who thrive better on distillers grains than they do on corn.

Most of the rise in food prices has come from the rise in oil prices. The purpose of giving our cars flex fuel capability is to give gasoline some competition at the pump which will force the price down, which will actually make food cheaper because a surprisingly large percentage of the cost of food is the cost of fuel.

And it will boost the U.S. economy, create less pollution, and lengthen the life of our cars (since ethanol burns much cleaner and doesn't heat the engine as much).

Adam Khan is the co-author with Klassy Evans of Fill Your Tank With Freedom and the author of Slotralogy and Self-Reliance, Translated. Follow his podcast, The Adam BombYou can email him here.

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