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Biological fuels a good thing? Think second order

Here’s another tidbit from my visit to the heartland. Seems that a lot of potential biofuels, such as corn and soybeans, are currently processed for foot consumption or exported for that purpose. So along come our initiatives into renewable energy — what could possibly be wrong with that? Well, nothing, except that when biofuels become popular, farmers looking for food supply will find themselves in competition with SUV-owners looking for drive supply.While we don’t know yet what this all means, it’s pretty clear that such a shift will dramatically reshape industries that haven’t changed much in quite a while. So, if you were historically a farmer in the nutrition industry, now you face the prospect of an entirely new category of demand called “energy”. My friends tell me that Ethanol now accounts for 12% of the US corn crop. By 2010, they expect it to be between 18-20% of corn crop, and domestic consumption will exceed exports. The provision of domestic energy will then become more important to the corn business than exports. Say you’re in the livestock end of the farming business – this has got to be pretty scary from a pricing perspective. I’d be interested in hearing what people think the opportunities that might be created are!

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