Thursday, May 15, 2008

Something Smells in the Farm Bill

Via Greg Mankiw:
...New sugar program: The bill would make the government buy sugar for 2X the world price, store it, then resell it at about an 80% loss to the taxpayer. Sugar sells for about 11¢/lb on the world market. The US government would have to buy sugar for about 22¢/lb, store it, and then auction off the excess to ethanol plants. We estimate that such an auction would net the government about 4¢/lb. In addition, this new provision would require the government to guarantee that domestic sugar producers get 85 percent of the domestic sugar market....

The bill appears veto-proof (it passed the House 318-106).
Meanwhile, up in sugar beet country:
American Crystal Sugar reducing stink at Moorhead factory

MOORHEAD — American Crystal Sugar is taking steps to reduce the odor wafting from is Moorhead factory, company officials said.

The company has adapted technology used to freeze hockey rinks to minimize the smell. The company made the changes after the Moorhead area was hit with a skunk-like smell for several days in May 2007.

American Crystal covered its last-to-be-processed outdoor beet pile with a freezing mat and replaced straw on the wastewater pond with a cover that better contains odors.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has said spoiling beets and heavy winds that blew straw off a wastewater storage pond contributed to the stench last year.

Factory officials said the company isn't making any promises, but the actions so far are working.

-From the AP via the St. Paul Pioneer Press