The 2011 Farm Appreciation featured Clintonville High School/FFA alum and UW-Extension Agriculture Agent Katie Behnke.
As guest speaker, she addressed the audience concerning the effects of ethanol production on local corn growers and purchasers. The event, held at Clintonville Lanes, also featured comments from various Rotary and FFA members. The noon meal was catered by Mathew’s Supper Club.
“The big question is: ‘what is the impact of ethanol production on grain prices?’,” said Behnke. “If you look at corn prices over the past several months, you see some big price spikes. Corn is at about $7.30/bushel right now; that’s good if you’re a crop farmer, but it’s very expensive for dairy farmers who have to buy it to feed their cows.”
Behnke went on to speak on the effects of an ethanol production facility being built in the Clintonville area. “If there was a facility constructed in our area, corn prices would go up due to the facility’s need for corn to produce ethanol,” Behnke said.
Behnke said she is not aware of any ethanol production facilities being built in the area, and stated that mass-production of ethanol is a technique that has not yet been mastered. She stated that most currently existing ethanol production facilities have a relatively low capacity. “They all know that mass-production is possible, but as of now, nobody has figured out how to do it in a cost-effective manner.”
Behnke concluded that a local ethanol production would have a positive impact on the corn basis, stating that long-term impacts are smaller than short-term price adjustments. According to Behnke, evidence indicates the price impact of ethanol production is not limited to a 50-mile local market that she used in conducting her research.
Rotarian Sue Aschliman spoke regarding the Rotary Youth Exchange program, and also noted that the Lions/Rotary Entertainment Night will be held March 24. Tickets are available at B&H Footwear and B&H Fashionwear, or can be obtained from a Rotary Club member.
Exchange student Margot Vandeputte of France followed Aschliman, and spoke regarding a few of her experiences here in the United States.
The event was organized by Rotarian Connie Mitchell, while Jon Majerus was the emcee. Rep. Kevin Petersen was in attendance, as were the Clintonville High School FFA officers and their advisor, Joe Heinbuch. FFA President Jake Riemer was honored as Student of the Week at the banquet.