The nation’s beef, pork, turkey and chicken groups have asked EPA administrator Lisa Jackson to waive the federal mandate for corn ethanol production. Because of the 2012 drought the coalition is concerned about being able to feed their animals so they have asked for an entire or substantial waiver of the Renewable Fuels Standard through the end of the year and for a year from the time the waiver goes in to effect.
Randy Spronk of Minnesota is a pork producer and National Pork Producers
Council president-elect. In a statement he said, “We’re worried about having enough corn, soybeans and other crops at any price to feed our animals. These aren’t unfounded fears,” he noted while citing more declines in corn and soybean condition.
“USDA also forecasts because of the drought food prices will rise 4 percent next year. The Obama administration has only a few options available. One of those is the law that established the federal renewable fuels standard. That tool allows the EPA administrator to waive an appropriate portion of the ethanol production mandate to address dire situations such as this severe drought. In writing the energy bill that set up the RFS, Congress included the waiver exactly for the situation farmers and ranchers now face.”
J.D. Alexander is a Nebraska cattleman and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president. While making it clear that he and NCBA support the ethanol industry, he also made it clear that they don’t stand for federal mandates picking winners and losers.
He added, “We do not stand for manipulation of corn prices. We do not stand for a federal government standing by patiently forking over taxpayer dollars to artificially inflate the price of corn for livestock producers and other end users. I am a family farmer and cattleman and I am not asking for a handout. I’m asking for the federal government to let the market work.”
Robert White with the Renewable Fuels Association says the ethanol market is already working.
“The market is going to sort out who ultimately ends up with the product. We have plants that have idled or slowed. We are just like any other industry, oil included. When the markets signals give you the right one you roll back and if market signals go the other way you produce more.”
National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer was quick to react after the meat groups conducted a media availability Monday morning.
“NCGA stands firm in its support of the Renewable Fuel Standard and will strongly oppose legislation to alter or repeal the RFS,” he said. “Likewise, we believe it is premature for a waiver of the RFS provisions at this point. With the crop still in the field, it is too early to determine this year’s final corn supply. In addition, the ethanol industry now has a significant surplus of ethanol and RFS credits that can greatly offset ethanol’s impact on the corn supply.
“However, we recognize the severe impact of the drought on our farmers and our customers, here and abroad, with livestock, poultry, ethanol and other processing facilities, and we believe the flexibility of the RFS does work, and will work. NCGA also supports the waiver process that is embodied in the current RFS, and respects the right of those that may file a waiver petition to do so.
“In the meantime, NCGA continues to encourage those seeking RFS legislation to, instead, work through the government’s existing RFS waiver petition process in the event they believe it has caused severe economic harm.
“Many of our farmer members are suffering immensely from the drought. Many are also in the same predicament as our customers because they have livestock or own ethanol plant shares. Now is the time for all of American agriculture to pull together and work together for solutions that benefit us all.”[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/07/Meats-ask-for-EPA-action-on-RFS.mp3|titles=Meats ask for EPA action on RFS]