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Intensification of production could also lead to larger nutrient and soil losses, as farmers attempt to increase their yields.
Do the higher food costs, higher land prices, environmental losses, and a smaller livestock industry associated with increased corn-based ethanol make any sense?
Most studies conclude that ethanol produced from current plants does reduce net greenhouse gas emissions, but the magnitude of the gain is smaller than what many would hope for.
However, the United States and other countries are vulnerable to supply disruptions and price shocks.Ethanol's environmental friendliness has been attacked because of the amount of energy it takes to grow corn and to produce ethanol.And expanded corn production could negatively affect soil and water resources as farmers till more acres and take land out of the Conservation Reserve Program and the Wetlands Reserve Program.There are a number of federal policies that encourage increased production and consumption of biofuels.Foremost among these is the 51¢-per-gallon ethanol tax credit given to fuel blenders who use ethanol in their blends.