Farmers, not consumers, to face ethanol squeeze, Ag chief says
WASHINGTON — Soaring corn prices are squeezing meat and milk producers, but consumers will not necessarily see higher prices at the grocery checkout, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said in an interview Thursday.
Costly corn has made it more expensive to feed cows, chickens and pigs. Demand for ethanol, a fuel made from corn, has pushed the price of corn above $3 a bushel, the highest level in more than a decade.
That is bound to have an impact on farms and ranches, Johanns said.
“My best projection is that for a couple of years here, you are going to have a tug-and-pull between various industries,” Johanns told The Associated Press.
Because so many factors go into making food, consumers probably will not see a direct impact, he said.
“I just would hesitate to pick any item at any one time and say to the consumer, `It’s the fault of this item that you’re going to be paying a higher price,”’ Johanns said. “There’s just too many factors that can impact the price, both up and down.”