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Pork Producers Worry About Ethanol Expansion

The National Pork Producers Council asked Congress Friday to let ethanol supports expire to lessen the effect of high corn prices on livestock feed.

Testifying Friday before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Horticulture, representatives from the National Pork Producers Council asked Congress to let an ethanol tax credit and a tariff on imported ethanol expire and to allow conservation lands to go back into crop production.

Pork producers fear that rapid expansion of the ethanol industry will drive up corn prices - and feed costs for livestock producers.

NPPC says that production costs for pork producers are up 30% in the past year, and feed costs are up to $65 per pig from $35 last year.

"U.S. pork producers support the development and use of alternative and renewable fuels as a way to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil," Joy Philippi, former president of NPPC, told the panel, "but we continue to have the jitters over the rapid expansion of the corn-based ethanol industry and the unintended consequences it is having on the U.S. livestock industry. We have concerns about the availability of corn to feed our pigs."

In order to create "a level playing field to compete for corn," Philippi says NPPC "will work with Congress to craft a free-market-based bio-fuels policy that will ensure the fuel, food and feed security of our country."

The group asked Congress not to renew the 51-cent per gallon ethanol blender's tax credit and the 54 cent tariff on imported ethanol, and to allow Conservation Reserve Program acres back into crop production.

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