Ethanol in the Classroom: Industry Wants Kids' Ears

kid in the corn

Photo: hoyasmeg via Flickr.

The Renewable Fuels Association, a trade group for the U.S. ethanol industry, is taking its message to high school classrooms.

This association --- representing an industry that primarily uses corn, a food, to make fuel --- has partnered with teachers and the National FFA Organization to provide tens of thousands of high school students with information "about the opportunities available to them in the field of renewable fuels."That's fine, if those opportunities include development of biofuels from non-food feedstocks, like corn stover and switchgrass.

But there's no mention of cellulosic ethanol and other next-generation fuels in a news release about the ethanol curriculum. Although they do mention "the next generation of biofuel visionaries." Mike Jerke, chairman of the RFF and General Manager of Quad County Corn Processors in Galva, Iowa, is quoted.

Does this bother anyone? Think about all the flack that President Obama took for simply telling kids to study hard and stay in school.

The association's position on the "food v. fuel" question
is that using corn for ethanol doesn't affect food prices, and "increased use of corn for ethanol in (sic) has negligible impacts on food prices."

The association also is offering scholarships for students to attend the National Ethanol Conference in Orlando, Florida.

"The curriculum focuses on the ethanol production process, the benefits of ethanol production, the interplay between renewable fuels and agriculture, and wide range of other issues," the association says.

"The lessons are available through the Team Ag Ed Learning Center, a website designed to provide agriculture teachers with new and exciting instructional materials, tools and resources."

A link to the Team Ag Ed Learning Center doesn't allow you to access the lesson plans without registering first.

More on Ethanol:
Corn Ethanol Worse than Oil? California Rules Yes
Ethanol Lobby Grows
RFA Stands Up for Corn Ethanol

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