Terra Sigillata

My post the other day on a study showing a diet high in fructose caused massive increases in plasma triglycerides received an unusually high number of comments for this blog.

One comment in particular, from Audrae Erickson, corrected me on subsidies given to sugar cane producers vs. corn producers:

Regarding the comment that “large corn-processing companies benefit from subsidies unavailable to conventional sugar cane producers.”

The U.S. government provides support to a number of farm commodities, including sugar cane producers, in order to ensure a stable farm economy and a reliable food supply during periods of market volatility and adverse weather. These payments are paid directly to farmers as a “safety net.” Manufacturers of corn sweeteners and other food ingredients do not receive such payments.


Okay, so I stand corrected in that subsidies are paid to farmers, not corn refiners.

Interestingly, Audrae Erickson is president of the Corn Refiners Association (aptly found at www.corn.org), based in Washington, DC. However, the IP address for the comment came from Littleton, Colorado, not DC, and the e-mail address was for another person at the corn.org domain. So, was someone misrepresenting Ms. Erickson. Could it be a fervent supporter of corn subsidies trying to get my attention in Colorado?

Some folks are unaware that the third of Colorado lying east of the Rockies and a pocket of Western Colorado are robust agricultural country. In fact, Olathe sweet corn from the Western Slope is a highly sought culinary delight throughout the state. However, Littleton is a suburb of Denver lying 300 miles east of Olathe. (Littleton is also known infamously for the Columbine High School shootings.).

So, I remain puzzled.

Did CRA’s president come for a visit here? Or, was it an operative of the CRA masquerading as a suburban Denver corn enthusiast?

Comments

  1. #1 Eric Wallace
    July 19, 2007

    Actually, I would say that your original statement that “corn-processing companies benefit from subsidies” is basically accurate. Who gets paid the subsidy and who benefits aren’t necessarily the same thing.

    In this case, the subsidies have driven a massive overproduction of corn, which leads to a low market price, and thus higher margins for corn processors.

  2. #2 Matt Platte
    July 19, 2007

    Perhaps corn.org subscribes to an email filtering service that is located in Littleton.

  3. #3 Jen Gamache
    July 20, 2007

    Audrae Erickson’s name has been popping up all over internet newspaper editorials whenever they run an article having to do with high fructose corn syrup or any study related to the health hazards of consuming it. Whether it’s really her or representatives of the Corn Refiner’s association is anybody’s guess. Perhaps ‘Ms. Erickson’ is more than one person working for the CRA.

  4. #4 Operator
    January 28, 2009

    From my own experience with Gavin Gibbons of the National Fisheries Institute (who graced my blog with his presence after finding that I’d posted regarding methylmercury in tuna and linked to a relevant Mother Jones article) it is very possible that you were visited by Audrae or a representative thereof.

    I am baffled at the amount of time public relations spinmeisters and lobbyists alike must spend looking for ways to spew their disinformation at anyone who’ll bother to listen.

    (I just ran a post on one of Audrae’s latest “press releases” – look forward to getting a chance to say “Hi”, myself)

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