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As others see it: The benefits of ethanol

Ethanol boosters are making quite an effort lately to tell Americans about the biofuel's worth to the nation. What a circuitous route this ag-based industry has traveled in just a few short years. ...

What has happened?

As some have predicted -- including The Daily Republic -- corn prices have risen to accommodate the demand of the corn-hungry industry. It has hurt some producers who depend on corn to feed their animals.

Too, food prices saw a steep spike, and especially so in 2008. It's necessary to note that local grocers certainly are not to blame for higher prices that may or may not have resulted from the ethanol industry -- it's a national trend. Ethanol's role in those higher prices has been the subject of sharp debate, and two industries -- ethanol and national food sellers -- have engaged in a finger-pointing battle these past couple of years, blaming each other for consumer complaints. ...

We have had our complaints about ethanol. ... But it's not all bad.

The effect the industry has had on corn farmers' pocketbooks has been substantial. As the farm industry goes, so goes much of South Dakota, and farming has been good of late.

The numerous ethanol plants have provided jobs that otherwise would not be here during these difficult economic times.

And eventually, we foresee ethanol taking a bite out of America's addiction to foreign oil. The TV ad campaign that begins this week will remind us that "no wars have ever been fought over ethanol." ...

Ethanol has its problems, no doubt. But America must try to understand its benefits, too.