Harkin Denies Ethanol Use Will Lead to Corn Price Spike
Sen. Tom Harkin, chairman of the Agriculture Committee, disputes a report released last week by famed agricultural economist Lester R. Brown that says the price of corn will spike as the USDA has vastly understated demand for the staple in the use of ethanol.
According to the Earth Policy Institute's Brown, the tremendous demand will cause food prices at home and abroad to rise.
Harkin "doesn't agree," spokesman Tom Reynolds tells U.S. News. "As we move forward we are going to see continued improvements in the ethanol process," Reynolds says, adding that Harkin has not read Brown's report, which generated widespread media coverage.
"We are well aware of his positions," Reynolds says. Harkin has repeatedly said energy issues will drive the farm bill, which could potentially include greater federal assistance to farmers or ethanol refineries and which has raised questions about a potential turf war with the Energy Committee.
"We're mindful of issues of legislative jurisdiction," Reynolds says. "When a gray area arises, there is consultation and even steps where it can go to joint committee. You could theoretically see a joint ag-energy hearing."