The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to cut the amount of corn ethanol required under the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard by 10 percent will affect corn prices and rural economies, farmers plan to tell the agency at a hearing set for Thursday outside the nation’s capital.
More than 30 corn farmers and their allies from around the country are traveling to Washington for the important public hearing. Growers from NCGA will be present representing 13 states — Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. David Howell of Middletown, Indiana is among those scheduled to speak.
“It’s great to see so many people willing to leave their farms at this time of year for an important opportunity to give the EPA a piece of their mind,” said NCGA First Vice President Chip Bowling, a Maryland corn grower scheduled to speak at the hearing. “This has already had a negative effect on our farms, and if the EPA gets its way, it could cause serious harm to the rural economy – not to mention cutting the environmental benefits of domestic, renewable ethanol.”
For 2014, the EPA has proposed a 1.4 billion gallon reduction in how much corn ethanol will be required under the RFS, the federal law that requires the blending of domestic, renewable, cleaner-burning corn ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply. Because of the record crop, growers are already seeing corn prices falling below the cost of production, and due to the planting cycle are having to buy inputs such as fertilizer, seed and fuel at much higher prices, Bowling said.
NCGA strongly urges all its members to comment directly to the EPA about this issue before the Jan. 28 deadline. More information about how farmers can do this is available online at www.ncga.com/rfs.