LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska Farm Bureau is urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stay the course on the corn ethanol requirements under the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The EPA released proposed changes to the 2014 RFS last fall which would set the overall RFS at 15.21 billion gallons, including 2.2 billion gallons for biodiesel and advanced biofuels. The proposal would put the corn ethanol number at just 13 billion gallons, well below the 14.4 billion gallons that would have been required under the law’s original targets.
“The U.S. ag sector has seen tremendous growth since the RFS was put in place in 2007. Total U.S. agriculture exports have increased by 57 percent, livestock output is up 31 percent and crop output is up 44 percent. Corn ethanol is clearly a part of the reason for that success and to change the course on ethanol in the RFS would be a mistake,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.
That message was reiterated by Richardson County Farm Bureau member Ben Steffen who offered testimony on behalf of Nebraska Farm Bureau before Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad at a listening session held Jan. 23 in Des Moines, Iowa. Steffen is a dairy and corn farmer from Humboldt, Neb.
“As a dairy farmer, we have used ethanol co-products to feed our dairy cattle and ethanol has also opened new market opportunities for the grain we produce. Without the ethanol standard in the RFS we wouldn’t have seen some of the positive economic benefits that have helped our farm and our local economy,” said Steffen.
In 2013, U.S. corn production was up roughly 30 percent from 2012. In the face of this increase in production, the EPA's proposed RFS rule for 2014 would essentially slash 500 million bushels from corn demand leaving corn farmers to look for replacement markets to make up for the loss.
“It’s critical the EPA take a long view and reconsider the proposed changes to the RFS for 2014. Now is not the time to pull the reigns back on an industry which has benefited all segments of the agricultural economy,” said Steffen.