Statement as issued Tuesday by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council:
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (November 12, 2013) – The Indiana Corn Marketing Council (ICMC) joins other Midwest states in refuting the recently released AP report, “The Secret, Dirty Cost of Obama’s Green Power Push,” that includes numerous inaccurate statements on ethanol production and conservation practices on U.S. farmland.
“We were disappointed by the latest report that was released on November 12 by the Associated Press. It seems to misunderstand farm conservation programs and omit important facts altogether about farming practices today,” said Jane Ade Stevens, ICMC CEO.
The AP story has misinformation and falsehoods about corn production and ethanol. For example, the story states that farmers have pulled 5 million acres of land out of conservation the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), in the last several years just to plant corn for ethanol.
The fact is the 2008 farm bill removed funding for roughly 7 million acres of CRP land. Based on this law, the number of enrolled acres has decreased to fit within the programs new, smaller budget. It is legally impossible to get back to pre-2008 levels of enrollment in CRP.
Here in Indiana, CRP acres have remained almost unchanged since 1999 while the state lost almost a million acres of agricultural land in that same period to urbanization and other land uses, but the article does not cite this fact.
“It is important to understand the story behind the numbers and our story is that Hoosier farmers continue to use good production methods including a corn/soybean crop rotation and various conservation practices and are producing more crops on less and less land each year,” said Dennis Maple, ICMC president and a farmer from Greentown, Ind.
Another blatantly false accusation in the article is that landowners are filling in wetlands because of ethanol production and are plowing up prairies.
According to provisions of the Energy Independence and Security Act, corn and other feedstocks used to produce renewable fuels for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) may only be sourced from land that was actively engaged in agricultural production in 2007, the year of the bill’s enactment. In short, current law strictly prohibits the conversion of sensitive ecosystems to cropland.
“The list of inaccuracies in the AP story is long but the bottom line is that the ethanol production is not the reason for a shift of acres out of the CRP program and it is unfair to readers and farmers to suggest that ethanol is to blame for less conservation practices. “ said Maple. “In fact, Indiana farmers lead the nation in the use of cover crops to improve soil health and reduce soil compaction and erosion.”
To view Indiana Fact Sheet on Ethanol & the Environment, go to www.incorn.org.