This summer’s scorching drought in the US Midwest has re-kindled a fight over the supply of maize as competition heats up between livestock producers and ethanol fuel production.

The price of maize – called corn in the United States – is soaring on global markets, pushing up the price of meat, milk and eggs as the cost of feeding animals goes up.
美国中西部遇到了几十年来最严重的干旱,导致全球市场玉米价格直线上升。预计,肉类、牛奶和鸡蛋也会涨价。

However, a growing proportion of US corn is used to produce ethanol for auto fuel.
另外,能源行业越来越多地使用玉米来生产汽车能源乙醇,也在推动粮食价格上涨。粮食和能源之间的战火再次被点燃。

It has helped spark an economic boom in parts of rural America. In corn-farming towns like Galva that had been shrinking for decades, new homes are being built. A new 400-seat performing arts center opened at the local school.
美国中部的爱奥华州郊外,生产玉米的小镇正在兴旺起来。比如几十年来不断萎缩的格尔瓦镇,现在新住房像雨后春笋般地建了起来。当地一所学校刚建成一个可容纳400人的表演艺术中心。

And farmers like Alan Bennett are buying new equipment.
农民贝纳特和他的同行也开始购买新农具。

"[There are] three ethanol plants within easy driving distance of here," he says. "And there is a lot of competition for corn now.  And there was not before."
内纳特说:“这里有3家乙醇工厂,开车就能到,现在玉米很抢手,这是前所未有的。”

In 2005, Congress passed a law requiring ethanol in U.S. gasoline.  One reason was to produce more fuel at home, says Delayne Johnson, manager of the Quad County Corn Processors ethanol plant in Galva.
“四县玉米加工厂”经理约翰逊说,2005年,美国国会通过一项法律,要求在汽油中加入乙醇,原因之一是让美国国内生产更多能源。
 
"As we have domestically-produced products, we have less dependency on the Middle East, where we have obviously spent money trying to defend that area," says Johnson.
约翰逊说:“如果我们增加本国生产的能源,就会减少对中东的依赖,显然我们现在花很多钱在保卫那一地区。”

Use of domestically-produced ethanol has grown as government requirements have increased.  Now, at least a quarter of the U.S. corn crop is turned into fuel.
在美国政府的要求下,对本国生产乙醇的需求量也在增加。目前,美国生产的玉米中,至少有四分之一用来生产能源。

Economists say that is one reason the price of corn is triple what it was before 2005.
经济学家说,这就是为什么玉米价格比2005年涨了3倍的一个原因。

Bill Tentinger grows corn a hundred kilometers away, in Le Mars, Iowa. But he also feeds corn to his pigs.  He supports ethanol...to a point.
坦汀格是爱荷华州勒马斯镇的农民,他用玉米来喂猪,他也支持乙醇,不过有底线。

"It has been over-done, which creates a huge animal consuming [corn] that we have to compete with," says Tentinger.
坦汀格说:“有点过份了,这给牲口饲料市场需求带来很大竞争。”

Cattle, pigs and chickens are competing with that other corn-consuming animal, ethanol, like never before, as this year's drought dramatically cuts the corn supply.  Corn prices have set a new record.  The livestock industry is facing big cost increases, and some meat producers may go out of business.
今年的干旱极大地减少了玉米供应,牛、猪和鸡等动物跟乙醇展开了前所未有的激烈大战。玉米价格创下了历史新高,畜牧业成本上涨,一些肉类供应商可能破产。

So the industry is asking Congress to waive the law that requires ethanol in gasoline.
肉类行业要求美国国会取消在汽油中加入乙醇的法律。

"If we do not waive that law and the ethanol industry is allowed to continue to make [ethanol], the crop is going to get [eaten] up, and it is not going to go into food," said Tentinger.
坦汀格说:“如果我们不取消这项法律,允许能源行业继续生产乙醇,那么玉米就会被他们用光,食用玉米就没了。”

Tentinger says the cost of food will go up, hurting consumers already struggling in a slow economy.
坦汀格说,食品价格上涨,会进一步伤害已经在经济疲软中挣扎的消费者。

But farmer Alan Bennett says waiving the law would be a blow to his town, and to consumers as well.
不过,贝纳特说,取消这项法律会给他的小镇带来打击,对消费者也不利。

"It could bankrupt the ethanol plant," he said. "It is a huge deal.  This country relies on ethanol for 10 percent of its fuel supply.  Ethanol is good for America."
内纳特说:“乙醇加工厂可能会倒闭,这是个大问题。美国能源中百分之10是乙醇,乙醇对美国有利。”

Bill Tentinger agrees.  But he says this year's drought has made him think differently.
坦汀格也赞成这个观点。不过他说,今年的干旱改变了他的想法。

"I have not been one of these [people] that have really argued the food-versus-fuel argument, but yet, in the end, maybe it does come down to that," he said.
他说:“我没有参与粮食和能源的争论,可说到底,这确实是一个根本问题。”

With the ethanol industry now a fixture in the U.S. economy, that argument is likely to continue.
目前,乙醇工业是美国经济的一部分,这场争论很可能会持续下去。