Growers from the National Corn Growers Association joined members of Congress and others May 15 to express extreme disappointment in the revelation that many high profile U.S. food companies may have supported a high-dollar public relations campaign to smear farmers and ethanol fuel rather than acknowledge the truth about the direct link of rising food prices to the cost of foreign oil.

According to reports in the Capitol Hill publication Roll Call, their staff members obtained confidential documentation of the effort.

“Rising food and fuel prices have led the biofuels industry to take a beating on Capitol Hill the past few weeks, the May 14 Roll Call article stated. “But the pummeling hasn't been by chance — it's part of a concerted effort spearheaded by the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Glover Park Group. GMA has been leading an ‘aggressive’ public relations campaign for the past two months in an effort to roll back ethanol mandates that passed in last year's energy bill.”

“Frankly, our farmer-members are shocked and outraged,” said NCGA President Ron Litterer. “It is simply unfathomable that food companies through the Grocery Manufacturers Association chose to smear their farmer-suppliers rather than cooperate with us to meet the growing challenge for America's fuel needs. Unfortunately, from what we've heard this not the only campaign in the works to place the blame on agriculture.”