The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry held a hearing this week to review the impact of higher feed costs on the livestock industry, specifically as a result of increased demand for ethanol from corn. One of the witnesses was Rob Wonderlich, a producer from Ollie, Iowa who testified on behalf of Dairy Farmers of America.
Wonderlich testified that while the higher corn prices may be “great for U.S. grain farmers who have experienced several consecutive years of depressed prices, it is tragically affecting the financial viability of dairy farmers.” As a producer with a 270-cow dairy, who also farms 520 acres of cropland, Wonderlich has calculated that the increased corn prices over the past year have increased his cost of production by $1.90 per hundredweight or 45 percent.
He further noted that his farm revenues were being stressed as the value of bull calves born has been reduced by almost half “due to calf-feeders unwillingness to buy corn-hungry calves.”
Wonderlich told the committee that he is a “firm believer in renewable fuels derived from agricultural commodities” but the biofuels revolution has occurred too quickly for livestock producers to properly adapt “which has sent a shock across the industries in the form of increased operating costs.”