The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) expressed strong disappointment after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced their intent to grant partial waivers to increase the allowable amount of ethanol in gasoline from 10 percent to 15 percent, also known as E15.

This increase represents a 50 percent increase from the current level of 10 percent ethanol, a jump that will have a negative impact on ranchers and would dramatically increase the cost of livestock production.

"The high level of corn-based ethanol is one of the key factors driving price increases in corn products, including feed for cattle," said Dave Scott, rancher and TSCRA president. "Over the past few years it has become very clear that putting our food and fuel in competition with one another is bad for cattle producers and consumers." 

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS), in 2008, feed costs for livestock, poultry and dairy reached a record high of $45.2 billion-an increase of more than $7 billion over 2007 costs. In 2008, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report that stated that the dramatic increase in livestock production costs were attributed to feed.

"Texas cattle producers support renewable energy and a lessened dependence on foreign oil; however, such an investment should not sacrifice our nation's food supply," Scott said.