Most recent controversy over ethanol has focused on the its poor energy return; in growing corn and turning it into ethanol, you have to burn three calories to get four. With prices of fuel and other inputs rising fast, corn farmers won’t be getting rich (except for those who happen to have oil wells on their property.) But selling their corn for such high prices, they can afford to sow more acres and burn more propane, diesel or electricity to pump more water than ever. A torrent of cash will be flowing through the nation’s corn-growing regions, but the biggest price will be paid in water.
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