An Iowa pork producer was in Washington, D.C. this week for a hearing of the Senate Ag Committee chaired by Iowa Senator Tom Harkin. Gene Gourley of Webster City says the hearing focused on biofuels and other renewable energy production and its impact on agriculture. Gourley says he gave the view of the pork producer.

Gourley says one of the key issues is the use of DDG’s, or distillers dry grains, a byproduct of the ethanol business. Gourley says there’s "some misnomers that those will replace the corn that livestock need," but Gourley says the DDG won’t necessarily replace corn. He says they need to be sure there’s enough grain to feed animals. Gourley says grain prices were also discussed.

He says they talked about the run up of the price of grain and what that increase will do to the cost of production for pork producers, with a lot of farms running in the red. And Gourley says they discussed what a loss of production would mean for jobs in the pork industry. Gourley says the ethanol boom has had an impact all across agriculture.

Gourley says he’s not sure anyone knew the ethanol industry was going to take off like it did. He says the combination of demand and subsidies put into the industry are part of the reason for the boom.

The hearing was held Wednesday.