Monday, February 24, 2014

The Chinese Want to Eat More Pork

Many criticize the ethanol industry in America. We shouldn't be turning corn into fuel, they say, because there are hungry people in the world. It is an admirable sentiment, but it doesn't take into account how the market works. When American farmers grow corn, they sell it to somebody. One of the markets they sell it to is growing: China.

As more people in China have more money to spend, one of the things they want to spend it on is pork. So the demand for pork is rising. And with it, the demand for feed is rising. Specifically, the demand for corn. I keep coming across news stories with titles like these:

China’s Corn Imports May Top 10 Million Tons
China’s Taste for Pork Continues to Grow
China’s Hunger for Pork to Boost Corn Demand

To quote from the third article: “Rather than becoming more dependent on imported meat, Mr. Urlich expects China will favour purchasing more feed grains. This should lead to a greater reliance on imported corn for the growing livestock and poultry sector."

Those who say we should not use “food” to make fuel may not mean to say it, but what they’re unwittingly proposing is something like this: “We should forget about energy independence, national security, and economic vitality so people in China can eat more pork.”

In other words, the “food versus fuel” argument means we should not use our land to grow feedstocks to make fuel, but instead we should use it to grow corn and export it to China because they really like pork.

I think if most Americans were given the choice, we would choose to give up our addiction to oil, and leave it to China to work out their pork addiction problem themselves.

I’d like to clarify that. We are not addicted to oil. We are the victims of an illegal transportation fuel monopoly. The moment we have access to a better fuel, we will drop oil like a hot rock. The oil companies want us to stick with oil, but American drivers would love to be free of oil’s fuel monopoly and the high prices, high pollution, and high level of terrorist threat it causes.

Given how small the yield is for corn, especially compared to using algae, the criticism about corn is now moot. But many people bring it up, and the facts about China's pork feed should be added to the discussion. Read more about algae's yields here: Ethanol For $1 a Gallon Using Unfarmable Land and Undrinkable Water.

- Excerpted from the book, Fill Your Tank With Freedom

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