Leaders from farm associations, the biofuels industry, and farmers from across the country gathered in Ypsilanti, Mich. on Wednesday before EPA officials at a hearing on the agency’s proposed supplemental rule on 2020 biofuel targets under the RFS.
They shared frustrations on what the small refinery exemptions have been doing to the industry—from the farmers, to the biofuels facilities, and everyone in between.
JR Roesner testified on behalf of the Indiana Corn Marketing Council and as a farmer. During his testimony, he repeated the importance of reliability for his operation with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
“With any business, you need to have a reliable outlet for the product you produce, and you need to be able to sell that product at a reliable price so you can make money, provide income for your family, for your farm, for your operation,” he said.
As a farmer, Roesner has seen firsthand how small refinery exemptions have impacted his farm in Dubois County.
“The percent we are hauling to ethanol plants has been drastically cut due to decreased demand,” he said. “Currently we’re probably only going to ship 5 percent of our 2019 corn crop to ethanol producers compared to the 30 to 40 percent we normally ship.”
It’s not just corn farmers that are struggling. According to Steve Howell, director of allied industry affairs for the Indiana Soybean Alliance, the Hoosier state produces 100 million gallons of biodiesel a year. With the 85 waivers issued in three years, one of the state’s biofuel producers is mulling a closure.
“We do have one small biodiesel producer that is considering shutting down just because of the uncertainty in the market,” said Howell. “The small refinery waivers have had an impact on his business and he’s considering whether he can continue to operate now or not.”
Farmers are encouraged to contact the EPA until the comment period deadline on November 29.