Recently, the Tribune Chronicle ran an AP story, "The secret, dirty cost of ethanol, Obama's green power push," that painted a severely one-sided view of how corn is grown to supply the ethanol industry.
Yes, corn acres have increased nationally since the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was enacted, however this has not been at the expense of wetlands, prairies or virgin land. The reality is that increased corn yields have been made possible by continuous improvement in farming practices and the reallocation of existing farmland from other row crops to corn.
The article also sounds the alarm about the amount of conservation land lost supposedly to corn production. It neglected to reveal that the 2008 farm bill capped the Conservation Reserve Program's (CRP) acreage at 32 million, making it legally impossible to return to the all-time high enrollment of 36.8 million acres reached in 2007.
In fact, Ohio has more acres enrolled in the CRP now than we did when the RFS was enacted. Today, 336,198 acres of Ohio farmland are in the CRP compared to 287,956 acres in 2005.
Let's not forget that the original purpose of corn ethanol was to lessen our dependency on foreign oil and to reduce emissions. It is a proven fact that corn ethanol accomplishes both.