Pubdate: Sat, 11 Nov 2006
Source: Concord Monitor (NH)
Copyright: 2006 Monitor Publishing Company
Author: Paul Stillwell


Just before Election Day, I fueled up my regular car, then the 
diesel. Two days before, I had ordered my next ton of corn for the 
corn stove. The price of feed corn had risen since summer by about 10 
percent. The unleaded gasoline going into the car contained 10 
percent ethanol derived from corn. Why was the price of gasoline so 
low compared to last year when the cost of a major component had risen?

There are now two grades of whole corn: the corn that farmers feed 
livestock and stove corn. Stove corn isn't food-quality, has a higher 
btu output, has a little more cob content and is dustier. It costs 
less than feed corn.

As corn is diverted from a food crop to a fuel source, it becomes 
less available to the livestock operator. This will result in higher 
prices. Yet the price of gasoline dropped throughout the election season.

There is not enough cropland in this country to support a wholesale 
shift to food-based fuel. The answer must come from cellulosic 
ethanol instead of food-based ethanol.

However the ethanol is derived, it will not power diesel, a preferred 
source of transport. One plant will provide a source for both: hemp.

Hemp requires no pesticides or herbicides. It can grow in almost any 
North American climate. Unfortunately, it remains illegal because it 
has an undeserved association with its psychoactive cousin, 
marijuana. Should hemp agriculture become legal again, it would give 
the family farmer a profitable rotational crop.

Paul Stillwell

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