U.S. Ethanol Policy Under Siege
by Robert Rapier
Jerry Jung’s passion for reforming the nation’s ethanol laws started when he noticed that the monarch butterflies had vanished from his hobby farm north of Clare, Michigan. After doing a bit of research, he learned that the monarch population had plummeted in recent years.
A key reason for the declining population is that large swaths of the country are being planted in corn and soybeans. Among other things, these monocultures put some native species at risk by depriving them of traditional food sources.
Most of the corn planted today is genetically engineered with a bacterial toxin that is harmful to the butterflies. It is also engineered to be herbicide tolerant. Herbicides are used to kill weeds that compete with corn, but that includes food sources for the monarchs like milkweed.