The Renewable Fuels Standard Repeal Act has been introduced in the Senate. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation are urging Congress to repeal the RFS. NTF President Joel Brandenberger says the RFS has been a poorly managed mess and needs a fresh start in order to put a smarter policy on the mix of fuel and feed in place. A joint release issued by the three groups points out that the RFS required 13.2-billion gallons of corn-based ethanol be blended into gasoline last year and mandates 13.9-billion gallons be blended in 2013. They say that will use about 4.9-billion bushels of corn – or about 40-percent of the nation’s crop. National Chicken Council President Mike Brown says chicken producers are already competing with the weather and asks why they must also compete with an inflexible federal mandate that voluntarily places another strain on limited resources. He says the approach taken by Senators John Barrasso of Wyoming, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania would let the free market decide whether corn should go to food or to fuel.
Last fall – for the second time since 2008 – livestock and poultry groups asked the administration to waive the RFS. Despite the widespread drought and reduced harvest – the EPA did not use the safety valve built into the biofuels mandate. When EPA is unable to provide a temporary waiver of the RFS during the worst drought in 50 years – NCBA Policy Vice Chair Craig Uden says it’s apparent the RFS is broken. He says NCBA appreciates the efforts of Senators Barrasso, Pryor and Toomey to fix this flawed program.