You’d think people would be happy with the rise of ethanol, a renewable energy source, taking the place of some oil, which is non-renewable. By creating another market for corn farmers, it should be a win-win.
But critics first sounded the alarm that farmers growing corn for purposes other than food would be starving children in Africa, and now it’s being blamed for the dismal state of pheasant hunting.
For the record, saying that biofuel production is responsible for food shortages and price increases has pretty much been exposed as a myth.
When it comes to birds, recent reports blame the increase in ethanol, and thus corn production, on more farmers using more of their land – including acres previously enrolled in The U.S. Conservation Reserve Program. Landowners are paid not to farm their CRP land, which has reportedly led to larger populations of pheasants, prairie chickens, ducks and other birds.
It is true that every action taken is apt to have unintended consequences, and reducing CRP acres will affect the bird population. But the numbers are lower because we’ve had a few years of drought and below-normal rainfall. That’s also the reason some CRP grass has been grazed – to deal with the drought, not to grow more corn.
Renewable energy remains a worthwhile goal, and ethanol continues to be good for Kansas.