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View Full Version : the price of energy independence?


htismaqe
04-03-2007, 01:53 PM
I know alot of people here have downplayed ethanol because of the costs associated with it's production. Looks like those people might be right...

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070330/ap_on_bi_ge/farm_scene_4

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Dairy economists predict the retail price of milk could rise as much as 30 cents per gallon — a 9 percent jump — by fall. The reasons include rising fuel and feed costs for farmers and increasing demand for milk products around the globe.

The average retail price of whole milk could rise to $3.35 per gallon by October, up from $3.07 in January, said Ken Bailey, an agricultural economist at Penn State University who specializes in the dairy industry.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast also predicts an increase in the price that processors pay to farmers for raw milk. That is typically an indicator that the retail price of milk also will rise.

Yet seesawing milk prices seem to have little effect on the buying habits of consumers like Celesta Powell.

Powell buys four gallons of milk every week for her four children, and even with milk prices expected to rise, she says she has no plans to cut back.

"You can't look at cutting your kids back on milk," she said after loading several bottles of milk from Meyer Dairy store into her minivan recently. "What are you going to give them, soda?"

When the average price of milk rose 19 percent in the spring of 2004, milk purchases declined less than 4 percent, said Stephanie Smith, a Denver-based nutritionist and spokeswoman with the National Dairy Council.

Habit and nutritional concerns appear to loom large, Smith said. USDA nutritional guidelines, for instance, recommend that most Americans drink 3 cups of skim or low-fat milk a day, or the equivalent amount of cheese.

The price of milk swings by classic supply-and-demand economics, said Douglas Eberly, counsel for the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board. When prices dip, it makes it harder and more expensive for farmers to make milk.

If demand remains constant, but the supply of milk goes down, prices tend to increase. That may allow farmers to ramp up milk production again, which increases supply and in turn likely lowers the retail cost of milk.

Logan Bower, president of the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania, said costs for farmers have risen so much recently that he is unsure whether even the predicted price increases will help.

Costs have surged for fuel and petroleum-based products and for the corn used to feed dairy cows, a side effect of increases in the production of ethanol.

Bower said he now pays about $180 a ton to feed his 500 dairy cows, up from $115 a ton a year ago, an increase of more than 50 percent.

There is also a growing demand for products like skim milk powder, dry whey and whey protein concentrates, which are exported for feeding programs in areas including the Middle East, Asia and Cuba, Bailey said. Whey powder is used in animal livestock feed.

"The result is that domestic supplies of these milk protein products are limited and global market prices are rising," he said. "That feeds back to the farm price of milk."

Federal legislators recently have drawn up bills seeking relief.

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., earlier this week introduced an amendment that would pay Pennsylvania dairy farmers a subsidy for milk produced over the past six months.

Casey said the amendment would provide about $125 million in aid to help dairy farmers deal with higher energy, feed and other production costs.

"Without relief, more dairy farms may join the 250 to 350 dairy farms that go out of business every year in Pennsylvania," he said in a statement.

But Phoebe Bitler, vice president of Pennsylvania Dairy Stakeholders, an industry group that includes farmers, producers and grocery stores, said the price of milk should not be so dependent on subsidies for farmers so consumers get an accurate gauge of costs.

"We've made it so that the farmer has to produce it cheaper and cheaper all the time," said Bitler. "The real price needs to be paid for the product, rather than a subsidy price."

penguinz
04-03-2007, 02:08 PM
:cuss: ethanol

Baconeater
04-03-2007, 02:12 PM
Everything in life is a trade-off.

penguinz
04-03-2007, 02:13 PM
Everything in life is a trade-off.
More cost for lower gas mileage is not an acceptable trade off.

Cochise
04-03-2007, 02:13 PM
Milk sucks anyway.

Donger
04-03-2007, 02:15 PM
Heh. The national average for gasoline just reached $2.70.

Baconeater
04-03-2007, 02:16 PM
More cost for lower gas mileage is not an acceptable trade off.
No, actually the trade off is more cost, lower mileage in exchange for less dependency on foreign oil.

JBucc
04-03-2007, 02:16 PM
I might get three glasses of milk a month. I do eat a lot of cheese though.

StcChief
04-03-2007, 02:17 PM
Better ways of getting calcium than milk.

htismaqe
04-03-2007, 02:21 PM
No, actually the trade off is more cost, lower mileage in exchange for less dependency on foreign oil.

Could we not accomplish the same thing, at less cost, with diesel derived from soy?

Or even better, diesel derived from hemp?

Redrum_69
04-03-2007, 02:21 PM
They should put fat people on treadmills and hang a snickers beyond their reach...thats the new energy source

Donger
04-03-2007, 02:29 PM
For those interested: http://money.cnn.com/2007/04/02/news/economy/biobutanol/index.htm?section=money_latest

Hydrae
04-03-2007, 02:34 PM
Maybe we should stop paying farmers to not grow stuff then the price of the feed would remain low. Instead we give them subsidies to plow the fields under then pay more subsidies to the dairies because thier costs went up. It is ridiculous and falsifies the market as was mentioned in the last couple lines in the article.

Besides, what is the price if we don't do something about our use of fossil fuels? Extinction would be worse than a couple more bucks for a gallon of milk IMO.

htismaqe
04-03-2007, 02:48 PM
Besides, what is the price if we don't do something about our use of fossil fuels? Extinction would be worse than a couple more bucks for a gallon of milk IMO.

At what point do we steer the national dialog away from the predominant opinion that ethanol is the panacea for energy independence?

At the end of 2002, there were 60-some ethanol plants nationwide. At the end of 2005, that number was 114. There are currently some 120 IN PRODUCTION.

People seem to think that ethanol is THE solution, and after reading much of the commmentary here, I don't think it is.

penguinz
04-03-2007, 02:54 PM
Ethanol is not the solution. It costs more to produce, distribute and is less energy efficient.

Pitt Gorilla
04-03-2007, 02:55 PM
At what point do we steer the national dialog away from the predominant opinion that ethanol is the panacea for energy independence?

At the end of 2002, there were 60-some ethanol plants nationwide. At the end of 2005, that number was 114. There are currently some 120 IN PRODUCTION.

People seem to think that ethanol is THE solution, and after reading much of the commmentary here, I don't think it is.Most of those plants are also looking at converting some of their operations to switchgrass. I do agree on the Biodiesel, though.

Hydrae
04-03-2007, 02:57 PM
At what point do we steer the national dialog away from the predominant opinion that ethanol is the panacea for energy independence?

At the end of 2002, there were 60-some ethanol plants nationwide. At the end of 2005, that number was 114. There are currently some 120 IN PRODUCTION.

People seem to think that ethanol is THE solution, and after reading much of the commmentary here, I don't think it is.


I don't know what the solution is and I also don't want to get this moved to the DC forum. But every little bit has to help. I just know if we don't get alternatives going it won't matter, the Earth will shrug off the parasite called Man and then continue on it's journey.

htismaqe
04-03-2007, 03:02 PM
Most of those plants are also looking at converting some of their operations to switchgrass. I do agree on the Biodiesel, though.

I don't want to sound like a total hippy here, but I gotta think hemp would be the logical choice for biodiesel production. It's cheaper to produce and yields more material per acre than just about anything else we could grow.

Donger
04-03-2007, 03:06 PM
All things aside, economics will probably decide the future. If the price of crude goes to $80 - $90 and stays there, shale becomes attractive again.

htismaqe
04-03-2007, 03:21 PM
All things aside, economics will probably decide the future. If the price of crude goes to $80 - $90 and stays there, shale becomes attractive again.

We need coal-burning cars! :D

cdcox
04-03-2007, 03:26 PM
Corn ethanol is certainly not economically sustainable. Biomass ethanol (switch grass, poplar, waste biomass etc) is a differrent story. In 5 to 10 years, virtually no ethanol will be produced from corn.

penguinz
04-03-2007, 03:28 PM
Lets just go back to using steam engines.

Brock
04-03-2007, 03:30 PM
People seem to think that ethanol is THE solution, and after reading much of the commmentary here, I don't think it is.

It's a cash generating boondoggle, and that's really all it is. The search for alternative fuels is going to be a Y2K style money-grab.

Cochise
04-03-2007, 03:51 PM
Lets just go back to using steam engines.

And the steam comes from where...?

penguinz
04-03-2007, 04:00 PM
And the steam comes from where...?
Water you silly person.

Baconeater
04-03-2007, 04:02 PM
Could we not accomplish the same thing, at less cost, with diesel derived from soy?

Or even better, diesel derived from hemp?
I don't know a lot about the ins and outs of biodiesel, but normally when you gain something you give up something else. So, I'm just guessing here, but you have farmers growing fields of soybeans or hemp instead of corn, thus keeping the feed corn supply low and the cost of it up. There's only so much farmland to go around. I'm just not sure that trying to grow our fuel is the homerun we're looking for.

Iowanian
04-03-2007, 04:03 PM
How much is a gallon of Mt Dew by comparison?

The only part that gripes me at all is that the coproducts(grain distillates) can still be fed with 85% of the feed value. It has variances in cost depending on the % of moisture at which they buy and feed it. 10% moisture is more expensive than 30% because of costs associated with drying it.

Eventually, given the stuff I'm seeing, the distillate grain should actually make feeding cattle CHEAPER. In many cases I know the larger feeders are using more corn stalks(ground) and cheaper hay-silage as filler and are using "grease" which is also a co-product of the bioD and Ethynol processes, but has a very high calorie content. It works Great on cattle but there are still issues in in being viable for swine or poultry.


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As to production, its actually CORN that is going to be planted more this year due to increased demand, so many acres more in fact that the prices(which are very high, good money can be made on $3 corn). Farmers who produce a crop have very good opportunities to make some money, enough so that I think the subsidies should be dropped on Corn-Soy(among others).

this week, a coop in Texas began marketing and pipelining "natural gas" greated from processing Dairy Manure. This is being sold to an energy company out west, who in turn gets "carbon Credit".

Cochise
04-03-2007, 04:04 PM
It's a cash generating boondoggle, and that's really all it is. The search for alternative fuels is going to be a Y2K style money-grab.

No kidding.

The market seems to solve problems once they really are serious problems and not usually before. I don't think we will see a replacement for fossil fuels come along until such a time as the expense really becomes a serious social problem. Sure, people complain about the summer gas prices and conserve a bit on their own, but at the end of the day everyone was still buying the $3/gal gas, and it was really just a minor inconvenience to the vast majority of people.

When I say 'when it becomes a serious problem', I don't mean that people buy the Expedition instead of the Excursion or check their tire pressure once in a summer, I mean when fuel becomes so expensive that people can't afford to get to work.

Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say, and I think the problem needs to get worse for market forces to become more motivated to fix it.

The government dropping billions of dollars into cornfields is sure as hell not going to fix it.

chasedude
04-03-2007, 04:06 PM
Corn is more taxing on the land than hemp is.

htismaqe
04-03-2007, 04:07 PM
I don't know a lot about the ins and outs of biodiesel, but normally when you gain something you give up something else. So, I'm just guessing here, but you have farmers growing fields of soybeans or hemp instead of corn, thus keeping the feed corn supply low and the cost of it up. There's only so much farmland to go around. I'm just not sure that trying to grow our fuel is the homerun we're looking for.

You're not giving up anything if you're replacing the corn you're specifically growing for ethanol production with another source for ethanol production. The net effect on corn supplies is zero because although you're not growing corn in those fields, you're not using the corn that would have been grown in those fields.

That doesn't even take into account that fact that production of hemp can outpace the production of corn nearly ten-fold per acre. You could theoretically increase the amount of alternative fuel many, many times without increasing the amount of land used at all.

htismaqe
04-03-2007, 04:10 PM
How much is a gallon of Mt Dew by comparison?

Excellent.

I'm not sure you even intended to bring it up, but the Mt. Dew comparison inevitably takes this corn discussion into a new arena:

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Iowanian
04-03-2007, 04:13 PM
They should put fat people on treadmills and hang a snickers beyond their reach...thats the new energy source

This sounds pretty close to my alternative energy concept of enlightenment I've titled "jobs for blobs" which utilizes generators operating on Teeter totters with jobless, welfare fatties riding their time to earn that Dorito money.


In seriousness, I think I'd like to see alot more effort put into alternative energy sources that power individual homes and businesses rather than trying to power cities. Better Solar power, individual and affordable wind turbines, and electricity generated by tread mills-exercise bikes et al. If prisoners want power....Peddle your hour.

Iowanian
04-03-2007, 04:14 PM
Corn is more taxing on the land than hemp is.

Hemp wouldn't make very tasty casadillas though.

Which brings up the point of the Mexicans crying about white corn prices which raises the cost of their tortillas a couple of cents. Waah.

Baconeater
04-03-2007, 04:15 PM
You're not giving up anything if you're replacing the corn you're specifically growing for ethanol production with another source for ethanol production. The net effect on corn supplies is zero because although you're not growing corn in those fields, you're not using the corn that would have been grown in those fields.
That doesn't solve the milk problem because it doesn't increase the amount of corn available for feed.

That doesn't even take into account that fact that production of hemp can outpace the production of corn nearly ten-fold per acre. You could theoretically increase the amount of alternative fuel many, many times without increasing the amount of land used at all.
OK, I'm sold, but why aren't we doing this then?

Pitt Gorilla
04-03-2007, 04:15 PM
How much is a gallon of Mt Dew by comparison?

The only part that gripes me at all is that the coproducts(grain distillates) can still be fed with 85% of the feed value. It has variances in cost depending on the % of moisture at which they buy and feed it. 10% moisture is more expensive than 30% because of costs associated with drying it.

Eventually, given the stuff I'm seeing, the distillate grain should actually make feeding cattle CHEAPER. In many cases I know the larger feeders are using more corn stalks(ground) and cheaper hay-silage as filler and are using "grease" which is also a co-product of the bioD and Ethynol processes, but has a very high calorie content. It works Great on cattle but there are still issues in in being viable for swine or poultry.That's what I had read as well. Ethanol is but one part of the product.

htismaqe
04-03-2007, 04:17 PM
Hemp wouldn't make very tasty casadillas though.

Which brings up the point of the Mexicans crying about white corn prices which raises the cost of their tortillas a couple of cents. Waah.

Makes a killer pesto though! :D

Pitt Gorilla
04-03-2007, 04:18 PM
You're not giving up anything if you're replacing the corn you're specifically growing for ethanol production with another source for ethanol production. The net effect on corn supplies is zero because although you're not growing corn in those fields, you're not using the corn that would have been grown in those fields.

That doesn't even take into account that fact that production of hemp can outpace the production of corn nearly ten-fold per acre. You could theoretically increase the amount of alternative fuel many, many times without increasing the amount of land used at all.Yes, but we hate hemp. Hemp=bad. You're all going to hell.

htismaqe
04-03-2007, 04:22 PM
That doesn't solve the milk problem because it doesn't increase the amount of corn available for feed.

Actually it does.

If you can maintain ethanol production at current levels using hemp, and hemp uses less land, you're freeing up land that could be used to grow corn. The corn supply increases while at the same time demand for corn to be used specifically for ethanol is decreased.

Even if you decided to dedicate those freed-up acres for hemp to increase ethanol production, you've still decreased the demand for corn, easing prices on feed.

htismaqe
04-03-2007, 04:24 PM
Yes, but we hate hemp. Hemp=bad. You're all going to hell.

God damn dirty hippies!

Iowanian
04-03-2007, 04:29 PM
I think what the common person fails to fully comprehend is that both Ethynol and BioD have FAR more wide reaching implications than just the "fuel" that burns in cars and trucks.

Ex. 2% BioD blend in Diesel, eliminates the need for Sulfer to be added for viscosity, and thereby makes a much cleaner burning, environmentally friendly Diesel exhaust(anyone bitching about pollutants and global warming lately?)

Glycerine, glutin, grain distillates all of alot of potential, everything from foodstock for animals and humans to glycerine products replacing petroleum based products like plastics et al.....and STILL having that grain with 85% food nutrition value for animal feeding operations.

Corn, soy et al don't "go away" because bioD and Ethynol are produced.

There are also more and more looking at the cellulose products made from corn stalks(which brings up compaction, erosion and removal of nutrients from the soil issues), switchgrass(which i've pimped here for 5 years) that can be grown on land that is currently in CRP.


As for the lower cost.....I'd rather pay a dime more for Ethynol and have a few farmers in nicer tractors and houses than build another golden pool for some asshole oil shiek who gives it to terrorists to kill americans.


My opposition to Hemp at this time is that it is an invasive species.....It would be damn tough to control that stuff once large fields were prevelent.

htismaqe
04-03-2007, 04:40 PM
My opposition to Hemp at this time is that it is an invasive species.....It would be damn tough to control that stuff once large fields were prevelent.

Tis true.

Cochise
04-03-2007, 04:42 PM
Yes, but we hate hemp. Hemp=bad. You're all going to hell.

I don't know much about the topic, but I don't think the industrial variety of hemp is the same thing.

Mr. Laz
04-03-2007, 04:42 PM
D. All of the above


start using every possible form of energy to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. One will eventually rise to the top and take over or will will find another options.

we need to stop screwing around and get serious about it though.

htismaqe
04-03-2007, 04:45 PM
I don't know much about the topic, but I don't think the industrial variety of hemp is the same thing.

It wasn't, until the federal government decided to make it that way.

Hemp was a nice cash crop until some uppity land barons wanting to use their vast redwood forests for paper production decided the easiest way to rid themselves of competition was to link growing hemp with "reefer madness".

Cochise
04-03-2007, 04:52 PM
It wasn't, until the federal government decided to make it that way.

Hemp was a nice cash crop until some uppity land barons wanting to use their vast redwood forests for paper production decided the easiest way to rid themselves of competition was to link growing hemp with "reefer madness".

Interesting.

I'm not one of the legalization types, but I don't see why we couldn't or shouldn't use hemp. It shouldn't be hard for them to produce a variety of cannabis with very little THC if they wanted to go that route.

htismaqe
04-03-2007, 04:57 PM
Interesting.

I'm not one of the legalization types, but I don't see why we couldn't or shouldn't use hemp. It shouldn't be hard for them to produce a variety of cannabis with very little THC if they wanted to go that route.

Shouldn't be hard? ROFL

There's FIELDS of it here in Iowa, it's called ditch weed. :D

Silock
04-03-2007, 05:04 PM
I owe a lot to Iowa pot.

Mr. Laz
04-03-2007, 05:09 PM
Interesting.

I'm not one of the legalization types, but I don't see why we couldn't or shouldn't use hemp. It shouldn't be hard for them to produce a variety of cannabis with very little THC if they wanted to go that route.
iirc i don't believe Hemp has any THC


it was merely guilt by association

JohnnyV13
04-03-2007, 05:14 PM
The Brazillians grow sugar cane to make ethanol. From what I understand, since we can't grow sugar cane in many places here, sugar beets come the closest in investment into the crop vs. fuel produced.

Silock
04-03-2007, 05:17 PM
The Brazillians grow sugar cane to make ethanol. From what I understand, since we can't grow sugar cane in many places here, sugar beets come the closest in investment into the crop vs. fuel produced.

If we do that, then we're going to have billions of dollars in subsidies paid to produce that. Not worth it when we can just use other crops that will grow anywhere (read: Hemp).

J Diddy
04-03-2007, 06:53 PM
Better ways of getting calcium than milk.


Its also a great source of protein as well

Cave Johnson
04-03-2007, 07:25 PM
The Brazillians grow sugar cane to make ethanol. From what I understand, since we can't grow sugar cane in many places here, sugar beets come the closest in investment into the crop vs. fuel produced.

I was a little curious about this, since I'd heard something like a decade ago about the sugar beet subsidy boondoggle.

Per the dirty hippies at the Earth Policy Institute, ethanol from sugar beets is about 2x as efficient as that from corn, while sugar cane is 8x.

http://www.earth-policy.org/Updates/2005/Update49.htm

Cave Johnson
04-03-2007, 07:30 PM
Hemp was a nice cash crop until some uppity land barons wanting to use their vast redwood forests for paper production decided the easiest way to rid themselves of competition was to link growing hemp with "reefer madness".

Having read Reefer Madness recently, I don't recall the author mentioning this ulterior motive. Sneaky land barons.

FWIW, I watched a few minutes of the movie a while back. I wonder what the producers would think about its quasi cult comedy status.

Cave Johnson
04-03-2007, 07:38 PM
I'm not one of the legalization types, but I don't see why we couldn't or shouldn't use hemp. It shouldn't be hard for them to produce a variety of cannabis with very little THC if they wanted to go that route.

It's a slippery slope thing. Or at least my religious right-hating slant thinks it is. The public starts viewing hemp/pot in a more positive light, and then they've lost the battle.

htismaqe
04-03-2007, 08:28 PM
Having read Reefer Madness recently, I don't recall the author mentioning this ulterior motive. Sneaky land barons.

FWIW, I watched a few minutes of the movie a while back. I wonder what the producers would think about its quasi cult comedy status.

During the 1920s, an emerging movement of legislators, yellow journalists, and concerned citizens started pressing Washington for federal legislation against marijuana. A publication in the Montana Standard, on January 27, 1929, records progress on a bill in that state to amend the general narcotic law:

"There was fun in the House Health Committee during the week when the marijuana bill came up for consideration. Marijuana is Mexican opium, a plant used by Mexicans and cultivated for sale by Indians. 'When some beet field peon takes a few rares of this stuff,' explained Dr. Fred Fulsher of Mineral County, 'he thinks he has just been elected president of Mexico so he starts to execute all his political enemies...' Everybody laughed and the bill was recommended for passage." (1)
Southern states were also pressing for a federal law against marijuana to persecute Mexicans that saturated the workforce with cheap labor during The Depression. Anslinger eventually responded to the demands of this growing viewpoint. Although it would appear that Anslinger was a conservative who truly believed marijuana to be a threat to the future of American civilization, his biographer maintained that he was an astute government bureaucrat who viewed the marijuana issue as a means for elevating himself to national prominence.

Secretary Mellon, Anslinger's appointer and boss for two years, was a prime backer (through his Mellon Financial Corporation) of the DuPont petrochemical company, to which the "New Billion-Dollar Crop" of hemp (Popular Mechanics, publication date: February, 1938) presented a serious competitive threat. There is some belief that Anslinger, DuPont petrochemical interests and William Randolph Hearst together created the highly sensational anti-marijuana campaign to eliminate hemp as an industrial competitor. Indeed, Anslinger did not himself consider marijuana a serious threat to American society until in the fourth year of his tenure (1934), at which point an anti-marijuana campaign aimed at alarming the public abruptly became his primary focus.

By using the mass media as his forum (receiving much support from William Randolph Hearst), Anslinger propelled the anti-marijuana sentiment from the state level to a national movement. Writing for American Magazine, the best examples were contained in his "Gore File", a collection of police-blotter-type narratives of heinous cases, most with flimsy substantiation, linking graphically depicted offenses with the drug:

"An entire family was murdered by a youthful addict in Florida. When officers arrived at the home, they found the youth staggering about in a human slaughterhouse. With an axe he had killed his father, mother, two brothers, and a sister. He seemed to be in a daze… He had no recollection of having committed the multiple crime. The officers knew him ordinarily as a sane, rather quiet young man; now he was pitifully crazed. They sought the reason. The boy said that he had been in the habit of smoking something which youthful friends called “muggles,” a childish name for marijuana."


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Anslinger

Calcountry
04-05-2007, 05:37 PM
microsoft is to blame for all our problems.