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How Will the Farm Bill Address Food vs. Fuel?

House Ag Chair Collin Peterson, D-Minn., says support for cellulosic ethanol will be an important part of the next farm bill.

The "food versus fuel" debate continues to draw the attention of policymakers, fueled by issues such as the Administration's biofuel goals and rising tortilla prices in Mexico. So how will the 2007 Farm Bill handle the issue?

Speaking to reporters Monday at the National Biodiesel Conference in San Antonio, Rep. Collin Peterson, D.-Minn., says he wants cellulosic ethanol to be the focus of the next farm bill.

"In the farm bill, we don't need to do anything to help corn ethanol," he says. Rather, cellulosic ethanol will be the "big focus of our farm bill."

As for concerns about ethanol demand driving up corn prices, "my expectation (is that) we're going to have too much corn and the price is going to come back down, and we're going to have a problem," Peterson says.

National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe thinks that in biofuel production, cheap soymeal resulting from biodiesel production will help livestock producers.

"All of the economic models show that if we can grow the value portion of the oil portion of the bean, farmers will get more for their whole beans, but the meal portion will actually be cheaper," Jobe told reporters at the conference.

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns will speak before Senate Ag Committee Wednesday on USDA's Farm Bill proposal.

TAGS: Livestock USDA
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