Posted by Diane Farsetta on May 28, 2008

ear of corn on stalkThe Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) "has been leading an 'aggressive' public relations campaign ... in an effort to roll back ethanol mandates that passed in last year's energy bill," reports Anna Palmer. GMA "hired Glover Park Group to run a six-month campaign," after realizing that "rising food prices ... create a window to change perceptions about the benefits of bio-fuels." GMA "also expanded its lobbying contract with Dutko Worldwide." In March, GMA began searching for a PR firm to help it build "a global center-left coalition" against ethanol and hire "trusted third-party experts" who would link ethanol to global hunger and poverty. Glover Park's winning proposal to GMA suggested attacking "whatever intellectual justification might still exist for corn-based ethanol among policy elites," including through "third party research" shaped by the PR firm; launching a website; and possibly creating a "costumed 'mascot' ... to drawn attention and distribute advocacy materials at local supermarkets." U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of corn-rich Iowa, who strongly criticized the anti-ethanol PR campaign, posted GMA's "request for proposal" (PDF) and Glover Park's response (PDF) on his website.

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Northwest University's [http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=90661 Medill Reports] has more on the anti-ethanol PR campaign, which it says is being far outspent by such pro-ethanol forces as the National Corn Growers Association and [[Archer Daniels Midland]]:

[L]ast week the Glover Park Group, a public relations firm in Washington, staged a teleconference with reporters to disparage what it called the U.S. food-to-fuel policy. Hours later, ethanol booster Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, held a press conference on Capitol Hill with five fellow senators to “dispel myths being perpetuated by a newly emerged version of the anti-ethanol campaign." ...

[T]he [anti-ethanol] teleconference was held on behalf of the National Restaurant Association, Earth Policy Institute, National Retail Federation, Environmental Working Group, National Chicken Council, National Council of Chain Restaurants and the National Turkey Federation.

Meanwhile, Merritt Cluff, the co-author of a new report on the global food crisis from the United Nations' Food & Agriculture Organization [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7424375.stm says], "Biofuels are the largest new source of demand for agriculture and are causing higher prices."

First, research the quarterly earnings of the main food manufacturers since the date of this article. Pretty impressive. Who pays? The consumers.
Free market for corn means corn goes where it brings the best return.
If fuel wasn't so expensive corn wouldn't go to make fuel.
This article doesn't mention that the co-contributer to the anti-ethanol campaign was the petroleum industry. Huh, what could that be for. If the petroleum industry eliminates a competitor for 10% of the U.S. fuel market it wins and consumers lose.
The campaign against ethanol tells you the ethanol industry receives big subsidies. Wrong, the industry doesn't receive subsidies, the petroleum industry blenders receive the subsidies for blending the ethanol with gasoline. Who benefits? The consumers.
Where do the taxpayers fit in? U.S. tax dollars are used to provide the subsidies but the subsidies received by ethanol end up in the pockets and quality of life of consumers through lower fuel costs and cleaner air. Do you think the petroleum industry or the grocery manufacturers would decrease prices out of the goodness of their heart? Don't forget about human lives being sacrificed to protect oil interests and the cost to fight wars in the Middle East. Don't those costs count against the cost of petroleum?