While at the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association (FEMA) Spring Meeting last week I heard four different speakers talk about corn and the relationship to ethanol. Each speaker seemed to suggest that, are you ready for this? Ethanol from Corn IS NOT the long term solution.
Sobering news? That would be a big YES. Those of us who make a living supporting agriculture and in particular corn came away from this meeting with two huge challenges.
- Will producers change in time to continue to capture market share as it relates to bio energy?
- Will equipment manufacturers be able to adjust to new crops and be able to manufacture equipment that will harvest, compile, transport and store vast quantities of "new" crops?
Here we have a "chicken and egg" issue. The producers can not, or will not move from corn to another better energy producing crop such as Switch Grass or Miscanthus because they lack sufficient equipment to deal with these crops and the manufacturing companies are more than likely not going to build such machinery until there is a demand.
Oh...there is another thing standing in the way of moving from corn to other products. And this reason may be much more serious than the equipment issue. It's called "culture".
Will producers overcome their "corn comfort" and move to new products? And, what happens to the dozens of corn ethanol production facilities?
In the words of Dr. David Bransby of Auburn University who has 30 years of experience in agricultural research and 20 years in R&D of energy crops and bioenergy, "Move from grain as quickly as possible." (Hear the story by clicking here.) If that is the case, we can expect some big changes in the future. Are, you ready?
Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where you can always make contact with us by clicking here.