As you may know, my husband is a farmer. Not livestock - cash crop. In the good ol' days, he would be known as a "dirt" farmer. He works alongside God growing crops - for people and for animals.
Today, there was talk on the news about the rising food prices. Someone in Congress blamed it on the fact that 25% of corn is now being sold for ethenol instead of for food.
A few weeks ago, our friendly neighborhood supermarket (which also has stores in several northeastern states) put up a small sign in their store-made bread department. I won't quote it word for word but it stated that, although they had been doing everything to keep their bread prices down, they finally had to raise prices because the cost of flour had gone up. If they had stopped there, we would have been fine. But, they continued to say that the reason flour costs had gone up was because the nasty farmer down the road had turned much of his wheat ground into corn in order to sell to the ethenol plant.
OK, so they didn't say "nasty farmer". Nor did they say that the farmer planned to use all that big money he was now making to retire and smoke cigars on the porch of his enormous plantation while everyone else starved for lack of wheat.
But, that's the impression it gave.
My local supermarket had an unfortunate misplacement of their little "blame the farmer" sign. Hmmm....
Oh, and by the way - I went to another locally owned, smaller supermarket and bought their much better store-baked bread for a lot less money.
ANYWAY. Here's the real scoop. My husband grows wheat. He grows corn. He sells to the ethenol plant. He has not changed wheat ground for corn. The corn used for ethenol is not the delicious summer-time sweet corn. It's corn used to feed cattle. And, guess what. The ethenol plant that we sell to, uses what it can from the corn for fuel. Then, it takes the rest and sells it to the cattle farmer for feed.
The corn is just taking a detour.
Wheat prices HAVE gone up. Is ethenol the reason? No. It's a reason. One of many. There were droughts all over the world last year resulting in huge losses of wheat crops. Not everyone has wheat to sell. Not because they're growing corn, but because the wheat wouldn't grow. Fuel costs have gone up. The transportation of the wheat is not cheap - nor is the fuel for the tractors and combines.
Half of people think farmers are filthy rich. Normally, they're just filthy. The other half think they're poor and some think he ought to stay that way. The farmer would like to feed his family.
Have you driven by the supermarket owner's house? Have you seen the farmer's house? Have you looked at his calloused hands and dirty coveralls while Mr. Supermarket Owner walks around in impressive suits and has his picture taken on a tractor for the latest "Menu" magazine trying to look like the farmer he's blaming for his skyrocketing bread prices? I have no problem with this hardworking gentleman making his money in his honest way. I do have a problem with his store blaming my husband for making money by taking food away from innocent people.
Attack the farmer and you attack my husband. Attack my husband and my claws come out.