The National Chicken Council says President Bush’s push for the increased use of renewable and alternative fuels, such as ethanol, could push up the cost of poultry and other foods of animal origin.

The NCC says the price of corn has already doubled because of demand from ethanol producers, greatly increasing the cost of producing chickens and other food animals.

"We estimate that ethanol demand has already increased the price of chicken by six cents per pound wholesale," said William P. Roenigk, senior vice president and chief economist for NCC, in a news release. "If government continues to push corn out of livestock and poultry feed and into the energy supply, the cost of producing food will only increase."


Production of ethanol is currently subsidized by the federal government through a tax credit of 51 cents per gallon of ethanol added by fuel blenders. In his State of the Union message last month, President Bush called for an increase in the production of renewable and alternative fuels from 7.5 billion gallons to 35 billion gallons by 2017. He also proposed $2 billion in loans for the development of fuel from sources other than corn, such as switchgrass or other "cellulosic" sources.

"While we applaud the Administration's support for the development of alternative fuels, the fact remains that corn is the most popular feedstock for ethanol, and increasing the demand for ethanol will put additional pressure on the cost of both corn and food," Roenigk said. "The supply of corn is not unlimited."