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Monsanto CEO: Ethanol Can Thrive Without Subsidies

Hugh Grant, chairman and chief executive officer of Monsanto, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” that he believes ethanol will be a “sustainable industry” that can thrive without governmental subsidies.

“It’s an industry that’s had some subsidies, it’s true,” Grant said. “The way I look at is that they’ve primed the pump –- we’ve got the industry started. In terms of reaching the goal, replacing 10% of gasoline with ethanol, we’re only halfway there. So, I see this as a long-term play. I think frankly as the subsidies disappear, this will be a sustainable industry that will allow us to grow fuel within our own shores, which has got to be a good thing in the long run.”

He said the key to ethanol’s success will be boosting yield per acre, a task Monsanto is trying to tackle by developing new seeds.

“I won’t speculate on how long it will take, but I think the progress that’s been made in this fledgling industry is incredible,” Grant said. “We’re seeing tremendous growth rates. I would say that if you look at the bio-ethanol growth in the U.S., versus biofuels in other markets around the world, the U.S. is going to be the leader in this area.”