Source: Illinois Corn Growers Assoc news release

High demand for corn related to expanding ethanol production is causing a fair amount of finger pointing these days. Who would have thought that profitable corn production could be so controversial?

As the media focus on corn's role is increasing, food prices continue to grow. Keep the following facts in mind; in fact, print this out and keep it. It may come in handy.

If you look at what has happened with food prices historically, a chart of plunging consumer expenditures looks like a ski slope from the top. In fact, consumer income spent on food has declined virtually every year since 1949. Last year we all paid 9.9% of our income on food, and you wonder why we have an immigration problem.

The truth is any increase in food prices will have marginal impact on total household spending. A study by Farm Bureau shows that even with rapid ethanol production, increases consumers might expect to pay $6 more per person, per year by 2009; and the extra fuel in the market place will offset easily by cheaper fuel prices....Well, at least cheaper than they would have been without the billions of gallons of fuel ethanol is supplying to the market today.

Here is some additional food for thought......68% of the retail price of pork and beef goes to the "middlemen." A similarly high figure would hold true for many food items.

Here's one final example: At $2 per bushel of corn, a consumer pays about 2.2 cents for the corn in a box of cereal at the consumer level. At $4 corn, that goes to 4.4 cents of corn in a 14 oz. box. That box can cost from $3 to $4.50 depending where and when you shop.