As Big Agricultural Companies Exploit Growing Biofuel Market, Emergency Food Pantries See Loss
As Big Agricultural Companies Exploit Growing Biofuel Market, Emergency Food Pantries See Loss of Stocks
This year has been a good one for farmers selling their crops overseas. But 2012 also has been a struggle for food pantries trying to feed the poor.
Between the bad drought this year and rising demand for food in other countries, U.S. agricultural producers have enjoyed record high prices for their crops.
For corn growers, the vast majority of their yields donít even go to feeding Americans. About 40% of the corn crop gets turned into ethanol, and another 40% is used as animal feed, leaving only 20% for people to eat.
Food crises overseas prompted the United Nations in August to call upon the U.S. to cease using so much of its corn for biofuels. But Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack rejected this suggestion out of concern that to do so would cause higher gasoline prices and job cuts in ethanol production for Americans.
The reality, though, is that many Americans are enduring joblessness and struggling to feed themselves, forcing them to rely on food banks for help.