Farmers are Shuckers, Too

It is not surprising that National Corn Growers Association President Ken McCauley uses the term “free market” pejoratively (“Reusable fuels: Good goal, good policy,” Commentary, Sunday), as it is the free market that stands in the way of his profit. Instead of allowing supply and demand to determine the price of corn, the corn lobby wants Congress to raise the price of corn, guaranteeing that growers reap record profits while consumers have to pay more for groceries.

In 2005, at the NCGA's behest, Congress mandated that 7.5 billion gallons of bio fuels (in practice, corn-based ethanol) be incorporated into the nation's fuel supply. Ethanol demand skyrocketed — and with it, demand for corn. One result was higher gas prices. Another was higher bread prices.

But corn is also the primary feed for livestock, so the corn price increase has led to higher prices for beef, bacon, milk and eggs. Farmers are devoting more arable land to corn and less to other grains, leading to decreased supply and, therefore, higher prices for those grains.

Americans are paying on average 4 percent more for groceries because of this mandate. Greedy for more, the corn lobby wants to double the mandate to 15 billion gallons. If Congress accedes to Mr. McCauley's demands, it will be putting his wealth before the welfare of the American consumer.