As agriculture closes out the year there remain unresolved issues for 2014, like the farm bill and EPA’s newly proposed reduction in biofuels mandates in the Renewable Fuels Standard. Earlier this month at the Indiana Farm Bureau convention, President Don Villwock spent a large portion of his address encouraging members to defend the RFS while the window is open.
“I can’t find a pump, there are so few in the state. It’s difficult for me to refuel with E85 because big oil refuses to allow gas stations to install new pumps or even to install E85. Please tell EPA your story if you’ve experienced that. I feel, as do many others, this one proposed reduction by the EPA could mean more to your future incomes than having a new farm bill.”
Comments at EPA must be received on or before January 28, 2014. To take action visit IFBtakeaction.org.
Villwock also reiterated his concern about data sharing from the farm to large companies.
“This fall I have met with representatives from Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Beck’s Hybrids, on this very issue,” he said. “We have had staff attend AFBF meetings in Kansas City and Chicago on this very topic. Now I am the first to say there are a number of potential benefits from this short of data sharing. But we do have some serious concerns. Who owns the data? Who has access to the data? What about the security of the data, and other than the agronomic comparisons, what else will the data be used for?”
He expressed concern about non-secure data, or to what companies it might be sold.
“I would hate for this data to accidentally be transferred to the EPA or USDA when they’re looking for compliance issues or potential fines. I would hate for harvest yields to be shared with large grain marketing firms who could afford to purchase it and use it to manipulate the Chicago Board of Trade.”
Farm Bureau believes participating farmers should own their data and have control over its use. Villwock wants all of the concerns addressed before companies move past the prototype stage.