January 10, 2007

Ethanol policy the focus for Ag Forecast

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A Purdue University agricultural economist will discuss our nation's energy predicament and the role of biofuels on Feb. 3 during the Ag Forecast in Indianapolis prior to the Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry.

"Ethanol and other renewable fuels can play an important role in making our country more energy secure," said Wally Tyner, professor of agricultural economics. "We need to continue to develop renewable fuels, and an important question is what approach to providing incentives for ethanol should we pursue in the future."

His talk, "Energy Security and Biofuels: Policy Alternatives for the Future," will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Old National Bank Grand Hall at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

When the federal government subsidy for ethanol was put in place, oil sold for between $20 and $30 a barrel. With the price of oil now twice that amount, it may be time to re-examine federal energy policy, Tyner said.

The federal government subsidy on ethanol is now 51 cents per gallon. Tyner said with oil around $60 a barrel, ethanol production is profitable even without the subsidy.

"It is the subsidy plus the current market conditions that are driving the rapid growth in the industry and the increase in corn prices," he said.

As corn prices have increased 70 percent since last summer, Tyner said pressure from livestock producers and grain exporters may push Congress into considering policy alternatives.

Among the possibilities would be lowering the current ethanol subsidy or putting a variable subsidy in place. Tyner will discuss the effects of those measures during his talk.

The Ag Forecast is free and open to the public and precedes the Ag Fish Fry that begins at 11:30 a.m. in the Blue Ribbon Pavilion at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Those also wanting to attend the Fish Fry will need to purchase tickets in advance for that event.

Astronaut Jim Lovell and NASA flight director Gene Kranz will be the guest speakers for the Ag Fish Fry and will recount their roles in guiding the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission back to Earth.

The Ag Fish Fry features roasted pork loin and not fish, a tradition that started in support of Indiana pork producers.

Ag Fish Fry tickets are $20 and must be purchased in advance. Tickets may be ordered by contacting the Ag. Alumni office, Pfendler Hall of Agriculture, Room 107, 715 W. State St., West Lafayette, IN 47907-2061, (765) 494-8593, or e-mail office manager Debby Bible at debby@purdue.edu. Order forms are available on Web at http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/agalumni/TicketOrderFlier07.pdf

Writer: Beth Forbes, (765) 494-2722, forbes@purdue.edu

Sources: Wally Tyner, (765) 494-0199

Donya Lester, Ag Alumni Association, (765) 494-8593

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Beth Forbes, forbes@purdue.edu
Agriculture News Page

Note to Journalists: The Ag Forecast is free and open to reporters, and a multiple input box will be available for broadcast media. For press passes to attend the Ag Fish Fry, contact Beth Forbes at (765) 494-2722.

Related release:
NASA duo to address Ag Alumni Fish Fry audience: http://news.uns.purdue.edu/UNS/html3month/2007/070102LesterFishfry.html

 

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