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Ethanol Hoax Spreads Economic Havoc
HUMAN EVENTS ^ | 03/19/2008 | Walter E. Williams

Posted on 03/19/2008 10:16:36 PM PDT by neverdem

One of the many mandates of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 calls for oil companies to increase the amount of ethanol mixed with gasoline. During his 2006 State of the Union Address, President Bush said, “America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.” Let’s look at some of the “wonders” of ethanol as a replacement for gasoline.

Ethanol contains water that distillation cannot remove. As such, it can cause major damage to automobile engines not specifically designed to burn ethanol. The water content of ethanol also risks pipeline corrosion and thus must be shipped by truck, rail car or barge. These shipping methods are far more expensive than pipelines.

Ethanol is 20-30% less efficient than gasoline, making it more expensive per highway mile. It takes 450 pounds of corn to produce the ethanol to fill one SUV tank. That’s enough corn to feed one person for a year. Plus, it takes more than one gallon of fossil fuel—oil and natural gas—to produce one gallon of ethanol. After all, corn must be grown, fertilized, harvested and trucked to ethanol producers—all of which are fuel-using activities. And, it takes 1,700 gallons of water to produce one gallon of ethanol. On top of all this, if our total annual corn output were put to ethanol production, it would reduce gasoline consumption by 10-12%.

Ethanol is so costly that it wouldn’t make it in a free market. That’s why Congress has enacted major ethanol subsidies, about $1.05 to $1.38 a gallon, which is no less than a tax on consumers. In fact, there’s a double tax—one in the form of ethanol subsidies and another in the form of handouts to corn farmers to the tune of $9.5 billion in 2005.

There’s something else wrong with this picture. If Congress and President Bush say we need less reliance on oil and greater use of renewable fuels, then why would Congress impose a stiff tariff, 54 cents a gallon, on ethanol from Brazil? Brazilian ethanol, by the way, is produced from sugar cane and is far more energy efficient, cleaner and cheaper to produce.

Ethanol production has driven up the prices of corn-fed livestock, chicken and dairy products, and products made from corn. As a result of higher demand for corn, other grain prices, such as soybean and wheat, have risen dramatically. The fact that the U.S. is the world’s largest grain producer and exporter means that the ethanol-induced higher grain prices will have a worldwide impact on food prices.

It’s easy to understand how the public, looking for cheaper gasoline, can be taken in by the call for increased ethanol usage. But politicians, corn farmers and ethanol producers know they are running a cruel hoax on the American consumer. They are in it for the money. Ethanol producers and the farm lobby have pressured farm-state congressmen into believing that it would be political suicide if they didn’t support subsidized ethanol production. That’s the stick. Campaign contributions are the carrot.

The ethanol hoax is a good example of a problem economists refer to as narrow, well-defined benefits versus widely dispersed costs. It pays the ethanol lobby to organize and collect money to grease the palms of politicians willing to do their bidding because there’s a large benefit for them. The millions of gasoline consumers, who fund the benefits through higher fuel and food prices, as well as taxes, are relatively uninformed and have little clout. After all, who do you think a politician will invite into his office to have a heart-to-heart—you or an ethanol executive?


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Editorial; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: agw; energy; ethanol; ethanolstats; globalwarming; hoax; subsidies
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1 posted on 03/19/2008 10:16:37 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Yup


2 posted on 03/19/2008 10:18:54 PM PDT by BRL
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To: neverdem

We’re doomed. What insanity!


3 posted on 03/19/2008 10:22:23 PM PDT by GOPPachyderm
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To: neverdem

Yup. You expect this kind of ignorance and incompetence from Democrats, but the bozos ‘leading’ the Republican party are just as guilty, if not more so.


4 posted on 03/19/2008 10:23:36 PM PDT by LegendHasIt (Noone/Nohow '08)
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To: neverdem

Yup. You expect this kind of ignorance and incompetence from Democrats, but the bozos ‘leading’ the Republican party are just as guilty, if not more so.


5 posted on 03/19/2008 10:24:02 PM PDT by LegendHasIt (Noone/Nohow '08)
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To: neverdem

Every time they screw with the market, we get screwed.


6 posted on 03/19/2008 10:24:03 PM PDT by TheWasteLand
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To: LegendHasIt
“You expect this kind of ignorance and incompetence from Democrats, but the bozos ‘leading’ the Republican party are just as guilty”

FR also has it's share of Ethonuts, as well as Gorebal warming kooks.
Happy to say that I don't buy either one.
When man starts burning food and wasting land for fuel, he has gone over the deep end.

7 posted on 03/19/2008 10:33:04 PM PDT by AlexW (Reporting from Bratislava, Slovakia. Happy not to be back in the USA for now.)
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To: TheWasteLand
Every time they screw with the market, we get screwed.

Yup. Get the government out of the way. Leave the private sector alone. Haven't even the common folks learned from the Carter Years?

Economics courses should be required in high school and college.

8 posted on 03/19/2008 10:47:04 PM PDT by Cobra64 (www.BulletBras.net)
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To: neverdem
It's almost as if our government lacks foresight and competence...

Nah, that couldn't be...

9 posted on 03/19/2008 10:52:27 PM PDT by snarks_when_bored
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To: snarks_when_bored
It's almost as if our government lacks foresight and competence...

Your average Congressman:


10 posted on 03/19/2008 11:03:23 PM PDT by Cobra64 (www.BulletBras.net)
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To: neverdem
Same old BS!

Who eats 450# of feed-corn per year? The sky is falling! Ethanol will kill us all!

Brazil is magic, we can't do what they have done. The highly profitable ethanol plants only run on government dollars. Why invest in alternative fuels now when we can keep giving Oil barons our money and trust them to wean us off of their product. The status quo cannot be improved in my lifetime, I'll fight progress away from petroleum till I die. Make my kids drink MTBE, anything but natural safe renewable bio-fuel.

11 posted on 03/19/2008 11:03:56 PM PDT by ME-262 (Nancy Pelosi is known to the state of CA to render Viagra ineffective causing reproductive harm.)
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To: Cobra64

Crazy, but plausible theory:

1. This consumes our exportable corn, other grains don’t get planted. Other exporting countries do the same.
2. Food becomes more expensive by design. Americans can stand to pay more/eat less (this may actually do some good in the big scheme of things-go to a discount store and you will instantly feel 20 pounds lighter and five years younger).
3. Food prices go up worldwide and surpluses disappear.
4. Almost no middle eastern country can feed itself and we and other exporting countries hold the power on controlling food prices, or even its availability.

Google “grain shortages” and you will see some interesting evidence for this, particularly the fifth one. Water is pretty scarce there, too...


12 posted on 03/19/2008 11:08:10 PM PDT by The Antiyuppie ("When small men cast long shadows, then it is very late in the day.")
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To: Cobra64
Economics courses should be required in high school and college

Elementary School. Teach it while they're still smart enough to understand it.

13 posted on 03/19/2008 11:09:19 PM PDT by athelass (Proud Mom of a Sailor and two Marines! McCain is to conservatism as Hillary is to Playboy)
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To: Cobra64

And Hillary and Barack want to put our healthcare in those hands...


14 posted on 03/19/2008 11:13:56 PM PDT by snarks_when_bored
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To: The Antiyuppie

Very interesting - thanks for your post.


15 posted on 03/19/2008 11:46:57 PM PDT by MonicaG (Help Wanted: Conservative leadership '08)
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To: neverdem
Ethanol contains water that distillation cannot remove.

Ethanol is hydroscopic and, even if one could temporarily remove all water, it absorbs water from the surrounding atmosphere.

16 posted on 03/19/2008 11:56:37 PM PDT by Rudder (Klinton-Kool-Aid FReepers prefer spectacle over victory.)
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To: ME-262
Brazil is magic, we can't do what they have done. The highly profitable ethanol plants only run on government dollars. Why invest in alternative fuels now when we can keep giving Oil barons our money and trust them to wean us off of their product. The status quo cannot be improved in my lifetime, I'll fight progress away from petroleum till I die. Make my kids drink MTBE, anything but natural safe renewable bio-fuel.

Subsidized, corn derived ethanol doesn't make much sense, IMHO. I want energy independence. I have no problem with fuel from biomass, waste, switchgrass, etc.

17 posted on 03/20/2008 12:01:14 AM PDT by neverdem
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To: Rudder
Ethanol is hydroscopic and, even if one could temporarily remove all water, it absorbs water from the surrounding atmosphere.

The word you want is hygroscopic, from Greek meaning it absorbs moisture.

18 posted on 03/20/2008 12:19:06 AM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Right. Hygroscopic, new glasses and more coffee. Thanks.


19 posted on 03/20/2008 12:26:29 AM PDT by Rudder (Klinton-Kool-Aid FReepers prefer spectacle over victory.)
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To: neverdem
And, it takes 1,700 gallons of water to produce one gallon of ethanol.

Williams appears to be off by a factor of several hundred on this figure alone:

"In general, the production of ethanol consumes roughly four gallons of water for every one gallon of ethanol produced, although the figure ranges from 3.5 to 6 in Minnesota ethanol plants. This figure varies from plant to plant depending on the processes that each plant uses to produce the fuel. In general, newer plants have been growing more efficient with their water use." - link

20 posted on 03/20/2008 12:36:06 AM PDT by wideminded
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To: wideminded
And, it takes 1,700 gallons of water to produce one gallon of ethanol.

I don't know the source, but it has been quoted enough. Subsidized, corn derived ethanol doesn't appear to make much sense, IMHO.

21 posted on 03/20/2008 12:48:31 AM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

self-ping and bttt


22 posted on 03/20/2008 1:02:15 AM PDT by shibumi (".....panta en pasin....." - Origen)
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To: All
I dont need to worry I drive a ZAP PK Electric . Spent about $0.25 today to drive 40 miles. It cost me more to take the Balboa Island ferry that it does to drive for a week. im001848
23 posted on 03/20/2008 1:03:18 AM PDT by troy McClure
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To: wideminded

I believe he was refering to the amount of water that it takes to grow the plant also. That would have to be taken into accouint as well.


24 posted on 03/20/2008 1:21:28 AM PDT by smoketree (the insanity, the lunacy these days)
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To: ME-262

Apparently you didn’t read the article.
He was making an analogy. Of course nobody eats only corn.

IF we were drilling our own oil and refining it the prices of oil and gas would be far lower and your so called oil barrons would not be making the billions they are now.

If your agenda was not in the way you would see that ethanol is not the replacement for oil.


25 posted on 03/20/2008 1:42:28 AM PDT by smoketree (the insanity, the lunacy these days)
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To: neverdem
I don't know the source, but it has been quoted enough.

The ethanol plants don't use that much water. The statistic apparently comes from counting the water used to grow the corn.

Subsidized, corn derived ethanol doesn't appear to make much sense, IMHO.

I agree.

26 posted on 03/20/2008 1:45:14 AM PDT by wideminded
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To: smoketree

See #26. I hadn’t read your post yet.


27 posted on 03/20/2008 1:46:54 AM PDT by wideminded
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To: neverdem

It’s a sin to burn food. This is where I start at.

We need to be digging up our clean Western coal reserves. Make it into electricity and run more electric cars


28 posted on 03/20/2008 1:51:09 AM PDT by dennisw (Never bet on a false prophet! <<<||>>> Never bet on Islam!)
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To: Rudder

hygroscopic


29 posted on 03/20/2008 1:53:59 AM PDT by dennisw (Never bet on a false prophet! <<<||>>> Never bet on Islam!)
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To: dennisw

19


30 posted on 03/20/2008 2:02:15 AM PDT by Rudder (Klinton-Kool-Aid FReepers prefer spectacle over victory.)
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To: Rudder

yep :)


31 posted on 03/20/2008 2:09:56 AM PDT by dennisw (Never bet on a false prophet! <<<||>>> Never bet on Islam!)
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To: neverdem
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Given the choice I definitely prefer Brazilian ethanol. (:^o)

32 posted on 03/20/2008 2:20:47 AM PDT by RoadKingSE (How do you know that the light at the end of the tunnel isn't a muzzle flash?)
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To: Cobra64

As long as they teach the right kind of economics....


33 posted on 03/20/2008 2:25:37 AM PDT by Born Conservative (Chronic Positivity - http://jsher.livejournal.com/)
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To: troy McClure
I dont need to worry I drive a ZAP PK Electric . Spent about $0.25 today to drive 40 miles. It cost me more to take the Balboa Island ferry that it does to drive for a week

I live in WA state where half the vehicles on the road are trucks or SUV's...every had an accident with something like that while driving that "truck"?

34 posted on 03/20/2008 2:29:00 AM PDT by highlander_UW (illegal alien is to an undocumented worker as a drug dealer is to an unlicensed pharmacist)
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To: dennisw

Right, or you can use Tropsch-Fischer and convert that coal to diesel. You can power a car with a 3 minute, two dollar, charge of compressed air and travel around 125 miles.

Ethanol is the bastard child of the Anthropogenic Global Warming Hoax, good intentions and abject stupidity. Take the government out of the equation and it would quickly become evident just how viable an alternative fuel it is. There are many viable options, Nuclear power being another, yet we are still paying exorbitant fuel prices and kissing the a$$e$ of OPEC and related countries for the privilege. It’s one big hoax and the sheeple seem more than content to go along for the ride; even if the ride costs three, creeping towards four dollars/gal. Not to mention making our enemies wealthy who would gladly see us (Western Civilization) destroyed.


35 posted on 03/20/2008 2:35:00 AM PDT by WildcatClan (Shut up about bootblacking! I like bootblacking, I like it very much.)
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To: CygnusXI; enough_idiocy; rdl6989; TenthAmendmentChampion; Horusra; Normandy; Delacon; Fiddlstix; ...
 


Global Warming Scam News & Views

36 posted on 03/20/2008 2:45:39 AM PDT by steelyourfaith
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To: LegendHasIt
"You expect this kind of ignorance and incompetence from Democrats, but the bozos ‘leading’ the Republican party are just as guilty, if not more so.

I just can't get any more disappointed in Bush.

Why he has gravitated to the dark side on the Globull Warming issue is beyong me--other than there was some back room deal with members of Congress and large Ethanol producers.

As far as I'm concerned he has talked the talk about exploring and developing our own known oil reserves, but has not walked the walked under any circumstances.

If I could adjust my foil hat a little, I might go so far as to suggest that he does NOT want to really drill for oil because that would upset his good "Buds" the Saudis and other oil producing countries in the Middle East--either as a favor or as a result of threats from the Moozie-led countries to withdraw their support for the WOT, as if they ever really have.

Look for LARGE contributions from Arab States (ala Clintoon) to his Library.

Those F'n, scumbag, goat-fornicating, Saudi camel jockeys, has way too much influence as lobbyist in Washington.

37 posted on 03/20/2008 2:47:51 AM PDT by Conservative Vermont Vet (One of ONLY 37 Conservatives in the People's Republic of Vermont. Socialists and Progressives All)
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To: athelass

“Elementary School. Teach it while they’re still smart enough to understand it.”
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Excellent!


38 posted on 03/20/2008 2:54:53 AM PDT by RipSawyer (Does anyone still believe this is a free country?)
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To: neverdem

Kudzu is the answer, it is immortal and unstoppable, it provides protein for animals and incredible biomass. It will grow anywhere it is not wanted.


39 posted on 03/20/2008 2:59:46 AM PDT by RipSawyer (Does anyone still believe this is a free country?)
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To: neverdem
If Congress and President Bush say we need less reliance on oil and greater use of renewable fuels, then why would Congress impose a stiff tariff, 54 cents a gallon, on ethanol from Brazil?

Proof that ethanol is viable.

40 posted on 03/20/2008 3:17:28 AM PDT by NoLibZone (Duncan Hunter- The very Govts unwilling to support us in the WOT got the Fuel Tanker Deal)
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To: ME-262
If you believe that ethanol is a good idea then you are truly an uninformed fool who would be better suited for DU.

Everything stated in that article is absolutely spot on. If you don't believe it then try doing a modicum of research...that is if reasoning is not beyond your capacity...otherwise drink the BLUE Kool-aid and you will awaken in your dreamworld where energy can be created by magic machines and using a food source to burn for fuel is a rational concept.
41 posted on 03/20/2008 4:51:42 AM PDT by Sudetenland (What part of "Shall Not Be Infringed" don't you understand?)
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To: RipSawyer

KUDZU?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kudzu


42 posted on 03/20/2008 4:52:48 AM PDT by Twodazzle
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To: RipSawyer

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellulosic_ethanol

“Cellulosic ethanol is chemically identical to ethanol from other sources, such as corn starch or sugar”


43 posted on 03/20/2008 4:52:49 AM PDT by Twodazzle
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To: ME-262
Who eats 450# of feed-corn per year?

The cattle, poultry, & hogs that become the meat on your table, assuming you are not a vegan.

44 posted on 03/20/2008 4:56:13 AM PDT by Mister Da (The mark of a wise man is not what he knows, but what he knows he doesn't know!)
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To: neverdem

Thanks for that. I learn something new every day at FR!


45 posted on 03/20/2008 5:08:41 AM PDT by Mister Da (The mark of a wise man is not what he knows, but what he knows he doesn't know!)
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To: RipSawyer

I believe you can also make jelly & wine from the flowers of the Kudzu. Yum!

WE ARE SAVED! WE ARE SAVED!


46 posted on 03/20/2008 5:14:39 AM PDT by Mister Da (The mark of a wise man is not what he knows, but what he knows he doesn't know!)
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To: The Antiyuppie; Cobra64
Is it rue that anything that grows can be made into petroleum? See the following article from today's WorldNetDaily: WND and you might agree. IF this is true then the ballgame is almost over, and H2 (and the other gas guzzlers) wins.
47 posted on 03/20/2008 7:30:24 AM PDT by ExSoldier (Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on dinner. Liberty is a well armed lamb contesting the vote.)
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To: Cobra64
Economics courses should be required in high school and college.

In the State of Florida all high school seniors are required to take a semester of American Government and a semester of Economics. I know, I teach both courses at the AP, Honors and standard level for high school students. Problem is that I teach seniors and it's difficult to overcome 11 years of propaganda fed to them by whining liberals. It helps loads that I show them all sides of the subjects we cover in order to create a valid issue; versus the liberals who have only shown them one side (the liberal side) which obviously creates an agenda. Once the kids see the blatant manipulation to which they've been subjected, my task gets a little bit easier.

48 posted on 03/20/2008 7:35:39 AM PDT by ExSoldier (Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on dinner. Liberty is a well armed lamb contesting the vote.)
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To: Sudetenland

Article is bullcrap, and I’m a flaming redneck rightwing
gunnut, just google hubel458 to see my rightwing
credentials.First there is no subsidy pmts to farmers
as price is above support level.There is no shortage
of foodcorn, or graincorn or corn products, it just
the price has been driven up by speculators. Who have
gotten their money out of real estate, etc and are playing
the commodities market. Many times more money
is being played in farm product markets than years ago,
driving up prices. We were being sued by other nations
for dumping corn and cotton, hurting their farmers.
Most of last years corn acreage increase came from
cotton acres, and there still is a surplus of cotton,
and enough corn. Even though gov mandated etnanol
the 6 biggest companies won’t use it, but uses stuff
that is cancer causing and pollutes yhe water where forced
to by states. Any vehicle can burn 10% ethanol blend
and all our older engines run better on it, as it is an
oxygen carrier and aids in cleanerburning adding a
little millage and less emissions. My diary farmer friends
get no more for milk than years ago.But yet middlemen
expenses/greed has raised prices. It ain’t the corn.
Whaet at 4 dollars a bushel has 6 cents worth in bread
at 8 dollars 12 cents, and middleman adds 10 times that
6cent increase and has you beating on farms and corn,
It ain’t the corn. Granted middlemen have increased
expenses due to high oil, but a lot of high oil is also
due to speculators, IT AIN’T THE CORN....Ed Hubel


49 posted on 03/20/2008 8:32:21 AM PDT by hubel458
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To: RipSawyer
Kudzu is the answer, it is immortal and unstoppable, it provides protein for animals and incredible biomass. It will grow anywhere it is not wanted.

You ain't kidding. There is enough Kudzu in Alabama right now to fuel the US for a decade. 

50 posted on 03/20/2008 8:49:36 AM PDT by zeugma (FedGov has no intention of actually doing anything to secure this nation. It's all a power grab.)
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