Over the past few months, there has been a consistent flow of negative messages and attacks on the corn and ethanol industries from a variety of angles and sources, according to Don Hutchens, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board. "It's like the corn and ethanol industries are under some kind of coordinated attack of negative messages that don't tell the whole story," he adds.
The board, as a result, has decided to do some additional outreach. "We want to spread the positive message of the many benefits that the corn and ethanol industries bring to Nebraska," Hutchens says.
The Corn Board is launching a campaign called, "Powering Nebraska's Economy with Corn," which is aimed at rural and urban consumers. The campaign, which begins this month, includes extensive radio advertising across the entire state and print advertising in the Omaha and Lincoln metropolitan areas. Additional activities and promotions are also planned.
"We want to talk about how corn producers are growing the largest crop on record, that energy costs are the main driver in food prices, that ethanol is a great start down the road to renewable fuels and that the petroleum industry needs to step up and make ethanol more available to motorists," Hutchens says.
He explains, "People want to use clean, renewable fuels – they know it is the right thing to do – but they shouldn't be scared away by half-truths, rumors and junk science. They need to know that ethanol has tremendous benefits for the environment. They need to hear about the positive impact it is having on rural communities. And we need to remind them that renewable fuels are helping to lessen our dependence on foreign oil."
Hutchens says that the campaign will also touch on the importance of a strong livestock industry. "The livestock industry is still corn's number one customer. As ethanol production increases, so will the output of ethanol co-products such as distillers' grains. That's why it is important that we continue to grow and support our livestock industry."