Is Ethanol Prairie Gold or a Recipe for Disaster?
Real estate has often been considered as a safe choice for long-term investments. The Financial Post recently reported that the price increase for the corn used in the production of ethanol is having a ripple effect on the price of farm land. In fact the boom in prairie and mid west land prices is increasing faster than metropolitan real estate prices.
Rural land has climbed a slow rate of 2% annually for the past 30 years or so. But in the last two years agricultural land has increased at 20%. This is excellent news for farmers who have often struggled without adequate compensation for their work or their products.
The flip side to this real estate boom is a looming shortage in corn available for food. Mexico is experiencing a shortage of corn that is used in tortillas – a staple of the Mexican diet. Lester Brown of Earth Policy Institute has spoken up about this potential recipe for disaster. He states that the "U.S. corn crop accounts for 40% of the global harvest and supplying 70% of the world's corn exports, looms large in the world food economy."
There are alternatives for gasoline that do not take food from the table. If you are considering alternative fuels, check out http://www.biodiesel.org/ for more info on biodiesel processed from scrap and post-consumer vegetable oil. Also take a look at some of the green cars and hybrid cars that are available on the market this year