One of the greatest attributes of a general farm organization such as Farm Bureau is that it represents farm and ranch families who raise all different types of food and fiber.

At the same time, one of the biggest challenges facing a general farm organization is that it represents farm and ranch families who raise all different types of food and fiber. This summer’s drought brought that fact clearly into focus.

For the third time in four years, corn prices have topped $7 a bushel. This year, the price has shot past $8.

Livestock farmers and ranchers are painfully seeing their revenues melt due to lack of forage supplies and high feed costs. Compounding their pain are low prices in the short-term due to more animals going to market so they do not have to be fed.

Feeling tremendous economic pressure, livestock producers are calling for relief.

One highly visible target is our nation’s Renewable Fuels Standard. Many are calling for a waiver. In addition to the drought itself, they blame the government’s renewable fuels mandate for higher feed costs.

If Farm Bureau just represented cattle, hog or poultry growers, it would be pretty easy to determine our position. Similarly, if all of our members grew only corn, our position would be steadfast.

American agriculture is a big tent. Farm Bureau policy supports livestock producers. It also supports expanding renewable fuels to the maximum amount possible. Therein lies the rub.

So, how does a general farm organization reconcile these two positions, which are both held as fundamental and vital, in a year like this?

The simple answer is with great difficulty and a lot of conversation. But the complexities of this issue trump simple logic.