Land Use

The battle over how we use our land is heating up again.  Critics of biofuels have claimed for years that increased biofuels production has caused more land to be put into crop production causing a loss of grasslands and a negative environmental impact.  Some of these critics would have you believe we are clearing forests and planting every acre possible to make ethanol. Common sense tells us that is not the case.  Thanks to the growing productivity of modern agriculture we are now producing more on fewer acres not more.  We take for granted that we can produce not only what we need in this country but help meet the needs of people all around the world. Crops used for biofuels also are used for food and to make many other products.  Farmers don’t grow corn just for ethanol or soybeans just for biodiesel. I’m never concerned about too much land being used for crop production but rather do we have enough.  Urban sprawl is not new and it’s not just in urban areas. Take a look around many towns in rural America and you’ll see subdivisions, roads and wind turbines where there once were corn and soybean fields. I’m not putting those things down but rather pointing out they take land out of food production.  It’s easy to be critical on a full stomach.  Instead of putting down a system that provides food, fuel and fiber for the world we should recognize and encourage its development.  As climate goals are set many are competing to find their place in helping reach those goals.  Many, including some political leaders, seem to think electric vehicles are the only way to accomplish those goals while conveniently overlooking their reliance on fossil fuels to develop them.  Biofuels can and should play a part in reaching those goals and they can do it right now.  There’s on old saying about land that they’re not making any more of it.  We should be thankful that agriculture continues to find ways to make the land we have even more productive and environmentally protected.