WASHINGTON — Citing the high cost of animal feed, tight production margins and job losses, the nation's largest livestock and poultry trade associations have asked the U.S. Senate to allow a 30-year-old tax credit and a protective tariff for ethanol to expire as scheduled at the end of the year.
"Although we support the need to advance renewable and alternative sources of energy, we strongly believe it is time that the mature corn-based ethanol industry operate on a level playing field with other commodities that rely on corn as their major input," the groups said in its letter.
The Senate Finance Committee now is considering whether to extend the ethanol blender's credit and the tariff on imported ethanol. Both expire at the end of 2010.
Higher input costs — which the groups blame on government support for corn-ethanol — have caused "serious economic hardship," including a 9% reduction in turkey output in 2008; $6 billion in losses in the pork industry; and a record $7 billion loss in the cattle feeding sector of the beef industry, the groups stated.
The letter to the Senate leadership was signed by the American Meat Institute, the National Turkey Federation, the National Chicken Council, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the National Pork Producer's Council and the National Meat Association.