Letter to the Editor

Ethanol plants are bad investment

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

To the editor:I concur with Monty Keesee's concern about the pollution likely to occur from the proposed ethanol plants. The bright side is that the ethanol-plant investors will think twice before investing in more plants. Stock prices in plants that have gone public have dropped 40 to 60 percent. Investors are banking on increased corn acres, resulting in higher yields. This is not likely to happen, because:

1. Corn in lieu of spring wheat yields 50 bushels less.

2. Corn after corn yields 12 to 20 percent less than corn after beans.

3. Cotton Belt corn is 35 bushels less than Corn Belt corn.

4. Floods and wet-weather delays in planting this spring will result in lower yields or switching back to soybeans.

5. Government subsidies slated to expire in 2008 and 2009 will end profitability for ethanol, if not renewed.

6. In the past two years, the United States has not produced enough corn to meet market demands for beef, pork, poultry, milk, eggs and ethanol.

7. High corn prices and lack of subsidies will reduce profit to the extent that ethanol plants will inevitably close or be a bad investment.

JACK H. KNOWLAN Sr., Jackson