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ETHANOL: How Many BTUs in a Bushel of Corn?

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Bob Young, chief economist at the American Farm Bureau, was on the Diane Rehm show last night discussing the rising cost of food and the shrinking package sizes in which said food is being sold, as manufacturers struggle to contain costs.

But, while the hour-long discussion was very interesting overall, one short snippet really jumped out at me. As the conversation turned briefly to how energy prices impact retail prices, the Farm Bureau's Young explained just how much fuel one gets from a bushel of corn:

"[I]f you go back four or five years ago when we were talking about $40 a barrel of oil, there's a little over 300,000 BTUs in a bushel of corn. And at $40 a barrel of oil, the energy value of that corn -- just put a match to it and burn it -- is worth about $2.50 a bushel. At $100 a barrel of oil -- just put a match to it, just burn it -- the energy value of that corn is worth about $6.50 a bushel. And understand that, as those values change, everything within the chain has to adjust into that different value."

You can listen to the entire show HERE. The transcript is available HERE.
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