“Get Big or Get Out”: How Biofuels Programs Prop Up Industrial Agribusiness in the United States

Since the 1970s when U.S. farm policy encouraged farmers to overproduce and “get big or get out”, family farmers have struggled just to survive. They are told that biofuels programs like the Renewable Fuel Standard will help them by increasing both demand for corn and the price farmers are paid. But these biofuels mandates only prop up the industrial agribusiness system. Farmers are not getting the fair prices they need.

This report examines the impact of agribusiness and biofuels programs on family farmers and rural communities in Iowa, which produces more corn than many countries and has a strong family farm history.

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  • Date Published May 2018
  • Number of Pages 4
Burned – Deception, Deforestation and America’s Biodiesel Policy

A trip down a dusty dirt road in northern Argentina provides a picture of the reality of the modern biodiesel industry. On the left-hand side lies a pristine forest, teeming with wildlife: howler monkeys, tapirs, and jaguars. On the right, new soy fields are being carved into pristine forest. Burnt trees and the white ash they leave behind stretch for as far as the eye can see.

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  • Date Published January 9, 2018
  • Number of Pages 16
Land and Food Risks of Cellulosic Biofuels

Download publication Author Sheila Karpf Contributor Kelly Stone Date published October 2016 Number of pages 40 read more

  • Date Published October 2016
  • Number of Pages 40
Development and Biofuels

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was created by the US Congress in 2005 in an effort to minimize fossil fuels emissions in the United States. But as global demand for food-based biofuels has increased, so have food prices and the demand for land and water. A number of reforms must take place to ensure that the RFS, which requires the consumption of increasing amounts of biofuels, does not increase hunger or undermine human rights around the world.

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  • Date Published April 2016
  • Number of Pages 4
Water at Risk: The impact of biofuels expansion on water resources and poverty

Biofuels are considered to be a renewable resource because their feedstocks can be reproduced in a relatively short amount of time and they are not fossil fuel-based. However, these facts alone do not capture the full impact – either environmentally or socially – or establish the sustainability of biofuels.

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  • Date Published October 15, 2015
  • Number of Pages 40
Fact Sheet: Biofuels and Water

Biofuels, such as corn ethanol and soy biodiesel, have serious impacts on water. Not only is water required to grow biofuels, but growth and production of biofuels such as palm oil biodiesel also often increases pollution, making water unusable for other purposes.

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  • Date Published October 15, 2015
  • Number of Pages 2