Two weeks ago, in a post on biofuels, I mentioned the effects that increased corn production for ethanol is having on other crops, particularly wheat. Kevin Drum offers his own (much more concise) analysis of the situation:
Let’s see: (a) environmentally speaking, corn ethanol is a pretty dodgy idea, (b) we’re subsidizing it anyway to the tune of $3 billion per year, (c) farmers, as you’d expect, are responding to the subsidies by reducing the amount of farmland used for food production, (d) this is driving up the price of staple food worldwide, and (e) we’re going to toss another $10 billion in ag welfare to already-rich corn farmers on top of all that.
A commentor at Kevin’s place also hits the nail on the head:
It doesn’t help that any politician who wants to be president has to either vote for this policy or lose the Iowa Caucus.
Welcome to US agriculture policy.