Ranchers key to phasing out corn ethanol subsidies?

Most everyone besides corn farmers think corn ethanol subsidies and protective tariffs in the U.S. are a bad idea, but with 21 farm states and 15 of those producing over >200m gallons of ethanol (couldn't find the link, sorry), it is tough to get anything done in the Senate without those farm senators on your side. (Not to mention the House). And with the Iowa primary looming large over any presidential election, it is equally dangerous to the executive branch (although John McCain commendably declared opposition to the subsidies late in his 2008 campaign). So most political observers think doing away with the ethanol subsidies and tariffs is unlikely to happen

Via Chris Clayton, two brave and progressive Congressional Representatives have introduced a bill to do just that. Chris asks a loaded question:
The question, though, is who would gain from such legislation, second-generation ethanol or imported sugar-based ethanol from Brazil?
Well, without U.S. subsidies and tariffs Brazil would become the lowest-cost ethanol provider overnight, so imports would gain (and second-gen ethanol remains a ways out). And corn farmers would obviously receive lower prices due to lower corn demand and a weakening of the food-energy link. What's new to me is the idea that there is another group who would also benefit tremendously:
“After 30 years of support, corn-based ethanol is still reliant on government support to be commercially viable," stated Gary Voogt, president of NCBA and a rancher from Marne, Mich. "It is time to allow it to compete on a level playing field, and to stop propping up one industry at the expense of another.

“Since January of 2008, cattle feeders have lost a record $5.2 billion in equity due to high feed costs and economic factors which have negatively affected beef demand...

“Soaring feed costs and government payments to the ethanol industry are hurting small businesses and family ranches. Cattle producers don’t ask for subsidies, just equal footing.

“The legislation introduced by Representatives Crowley and Mack allows for a market-based approach to our nation’s competing demands for corn, and helps us meet both our food and fuel needs,” NCBA stated.
Could ranchers counterbalance the farmers and underpin the success of this legislation? It seems like a long shot, but the mere idea makes me more optimistic than I have been for a while.

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