Saturday, July 6, 2019

Friday July 5 Ag News


With the recent announcement in Colorado of two horses on two separate premises testing positive for vesicular stomatitis (VS), NDA is encouraging horse and cattle owners to be aware and take precautions, particularly with animals that may be comingling with other animals at events over the next several months.

VS is a viral disease which primarily affects horses and cattle, but can also affect sheep, goats, swine, llamas and alpacas. The disease is characterized by fever and the formation of blister-like lesions in the mouth and on the dental pad, tongue, lips, nostrils, hooves and teats. When the blisters break, there is usually salivation and nasal discharge. And, as a result of these painful lesions, infected animals may refuse to eat and drink, which can lead to weight loss. There are no USDA-approved vaccines for VS.

The primary way the virus is transmitted is from biting insects like black flies, sand flies and midges, so animal owners should consider treatments to reduce insects where animals are housed. VS can also be spread by nose-to-nose contact between animals. The virus itself usually runs its course in five to seven days, and it can take up to an additional seven days for the infected animal to recover from the symptoms. Colorado, New Mexico and Texas all have confirmed VS cases at this time.

NDA has importation orders in place to help prevent the spread of VS into Nebraska. If you are considering moving an animal into Nebraska from an affected state, please call 402-471-2351 to learn more about the importation order.

“Protecting the health and safety of Nebraska’s animals is of the utmost importance in the state,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Dennis Hughes. “Vesicular Stomatitis resembles Foot-and-Mouth Disease in the early stages, and I ask that all producers continue to be vigilant in importing animals into Nebraska.”

The horses in Colorado that tested positive for VS have been placed under quarantine and will remain under quarantine until at least 14 days after the onset of lesions in the last affected animal on the premises.

Although humans can become infected when handling the affected animals, it rarely occurs. To avoid human exposure, people should use personal protective measures when handling affected animals.

For more information on VS, visit:

U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance Committing to Cooperation with Food Industry to Nourish an At-Risk World

The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) is igniting efforts to connect the agriculture and food industries to solve one of humankind's greatest challenges: How to nourish an unprecedented population while protecting and enhancing the world in which we all live.

"There is no 'or' in this equation. We must grow and raise healthy foods to feed billions of people and we must do so in a way that positively contributes to the environment," said Erin Fitzgerald, CEO, USFRA. "There is no other sector that can provide nourishment for our communities while drawing down carbon into our soils and enhancing ecosystem services like the food and agriculture sector."

According to American Farmland Trust, agricultural land in the United States disappears at a rate of 175 acres per hour due to business and residential expansion. That loss of land, combined with climatic changes and a growing global population, is forcing farmers and ranchers to protect and optimize the environment while increasing the amount of food they produce per acre.

"We are proud to carry the responsibility of being a trusted source for food," said Chip Bowling, USFRA chairman and a seventh-generation farmer from Newburg, Md. "But farmers and ranchers need the support and collaboration of food makers and industry stakeholders to advance existing technologies and management practices."

"Our future is dependent upon contagious collaboration between the food and agriculture value chain," added Fitzgerald. "I'm urgently asking all innovators, food makers, nonprofit groups and financial institutions to join us as we create a strategic roadmap to meet these challenges of the next decade."

In early June, nearly 100 top leaders across agriculture, technology, NGOs, finance and investment, and food companies gathered at a 1400-acre farm an hour outside Washington, D.C., to discuss the urgency of the issues and collaborate on a vision. The Honor the Harvest Forum, created by USFRA and The Aspen Institute, featured working sessions among stakeholders that centered on the ability of agriculture to draw down greenhouse gases and adapt to a changing climate, while growing shared value across the food chain.

"It was such an honor to help plan and be part of Honor the Harvest Forum hosted by USFRA and The Aspen Institute," said Anne Meis, USFRA Secretary and District 1 Board Member of the Nebraska Soybean Board. "It is exciting to be part of this unprecedented gathering of national leaders in agriculture, food, government, research and conservation to discuss how farmers and ranchers can be part of the solution to environmental issues. Fittingly, we met on a farm outside of Washington, D.C. This was only the beginning and the real work continues."

Studies have found that farming and ranching will play a critical role in solving climate change issues. Agricultural soils have the capacity to draw down and store carbon through the photosynthesis process. Through climate smart agriculture practices, farmers and ranchers can optimize for production, improve resiliency, minimize fertilizers and other inputs, improve water use and quality, all while storing carbon for future generations.

"This idea that agriculture provides solutions to some of the biggest problems humanity faces is not something new," said A.G. Kawamura, former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. "It's something that needs to be re-thought through and more importantly re-communicated that we're all in this together."

In the coming months, the leaders who attended Honor the Harvest will be outlining a path forward to a more sustainable food system, and define how food systems could look in 2030.

"We can have a lot of strategies," said Christine Daughtery, Vice President of Sustainable Agriculture & Responsible Sourcing, PepsiCo. "We clearly need vision. But at the end of the day, we need to roll up our sleeves and we need to get the work done."

The Nebraska Soybean Board in conjunction with the National Biodiesel Board were the exclusive providers of biodiesel transportation for the Honor the Harvest Forum.

Nebraska Grazing Conference, August 12-14

Beginning and experienced graziers, land managers, policy makers, and those concerned with the utilization and conservation of our grazing lands will find this conference of interest. Join us to learn current information on grazing livestock systems and their impact on lands.

Topics and speakers include:
Pre-conference Plant Identification Tour—Chris Helzer (The Nature Conservancy).

Rangeland Health—Patrick Shaver (University of Oregon), Dana Larsen (Broken Heart Livestock), and Daren Redfearn (UNL Agronomy & Horticulture).

Grazinglands Management—Virginia Jin (USDA ARS), Andrea Basche (UNL Agronomy & Horticulture), Martha Mamo (UNL Agronomy & Horticulture), Walt Schacht (UNL Agronomy & Horticulture), Jerry Volesky (NE Extension), Jeff Bradshaw (NE Extension), and Jacob Miller (7M Ranch).

Art and Science of Winter Grazing—John Maddux (Maddux Cattle Co.), Logan Pribbeno (Wine Glass Ranch), Jim O’Rourke (RuJoDen Ranch), Lon Larsen (Broken Heart Livestock), and Bruce Anderson (UNL Agronomy & Horticulture).

Rangeland Resilience—Jack Arterburn (NE Extension), Sarah Sortum (Switzer Ranch), and Craig Allen, (Center for Resilience in Working Agricultural Landscapes).

To learn more visit

NC Beef for Troops

Since 2009 the NC Farmer Stockmen Council has sponsored beef certificates for military members on Veterans’ Appreciation Day at the State Fair.

The Farmer-Stockman Council of Nebraska Cattlemen will once again be honoring veterans and active duty service members at the Nebraska State Fair in the Beef Pit during Labor Day weekend. They are asking for cash donations, so they can continue this program at the 2019 Nebraska State Fair. Gift certificates for beef are purchased with donated funds and randomly given to veterans and active duty service members who patronize the Nebraska Cattlemen Beef Pit at the Nebraska State Fair.

Please send your donations to the Nebraska Cattlemen office at 4611 Cattle Drive, Lincoln, NE 68521 and please note that the donation is for Beef for Troops. Please send donations by Thursday, August 15.

Questions can be directed to Bonita Lederer 402-450-0223 

Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation Recognizes 2019 Retail Value Steer Challenge Winners

The annual Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation (NCF) Retail Value Steer Challenge (RVSC) winners were honored at the NC Foundation lunch on June 5 during the Nebraska Cattlemen (NC) Midyear Meeting in Columbus.

The RVSC is the primary fundraiser for NC Foundation with money raised supporting youth & adult educational programs, scholarships, research & infrastructure projects, history preservation and judging teams at colleges in Nebraska.

Three winners of each of the three categories were awarded for their steer's performance in the 20th annual Retail Value Steer Challenge. First place in the Average Daily Gain category was awarded to the steer owned by Pat Meiergerd and Joe Prinz, both of West Point, and second place went to a steer owned by MRK, Inc. from Lexington. The third place steer in the Average Daily Gain category was awarded to John Blakeman of Merna and John and Tammy Hansen of Burwell. In the Carcass Value category, Furnas County Livestock Association and Harlan County Livestock Association owned the winning steer. Wisner Feedlots Inc. received second place and Berger's Herdmasters of Stapleton received the third place honors. First place in the Total Value Category was a steer owned by the NE Jackrabbits group consisting of J.D. Alexander (Pilger), Kelly Bruns (North Platte), Randy Lenz (Elm Creek), John Schroeder (Cozad) and Troy Stowater (Wayne). Second place went to the steer owned by Lincoln County Cattlemen and third place went to Herb Albers Feedlot of Wisner.

The NC Foundation would like to recognize the support of Darr Feedlot, Cozad, for administration and feeding of the steers that were entered into this year's challenge. In addition, the Foundation appreciates the following sponsors for their support of the Retail Value Steer Challenge:Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., Bill's Volume Sales, Inc. and Zinpro Performance Minerals.

Iowa Dept of Ag Receives $1.15 Million Grant from EPA

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has been selected for a $1.15 million cooperative agreement by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Gulf of Mexico Program. The funding will be used to install up to six wetlands in targeted locations to improve water quality and habitat in the Middle Cedar River watershed. It is estimated this project will reduce downstream nitrogen loads by 58,000 pounds per year.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is partnering with the Cities of Cedar Rapids, Cedar Falls and Waterloo, Iowa State University, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and Iowa Farm Bureau Federation on this project to locate, promote, design and implement these wetlands.

“Working with the EPA and local communities, we are taking on the challenge of improving Iowa’s water quality by implementing conservation practices in priority watersheds,” said Naig. “Whether you live in the city or the country, we all have a role to play. These types of public-private partnerships and rural-urban projects are perfect examples of what we can accomplish when we all work together to achieve our common goal — preserving Iowa’s natural resources for the next generation.”

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and its partners are continuously investing in innovative water quality projects to ensure the most effective practices are used as implementation scales up. The Middle Cedar River project will build on past experience to incorporate new placement techniques that expand the number of locations where this practice can be installed.

“Receiving this grant is a testament to the quality of our ongoing work to improve water quality and quantity challenges in the Cedar River,” said Steve Hershner, Utilities Director for the City of Cedar Rapids. “Many partners have contributed to efforts which protect our source water. This additional agreement between the Department and the EPA toward our shared goals is an exciting new opportunity to advance this important work.”

In addition to reducing nitrate levels in Iowa and downstream, the wetlands enhance the local wildlife habitat. The area will be seeded with pollinator-friendly plants to attract bees, butterflies and other pollinator species.

The Department, municipalities and industry associations are in the process of identifying potential locations for the wetlands and are visiting with interested landowners. The first wetlands are expected to break ground in 2020.

The Middle Cedar River watershed project is part of the state’s ongoing Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS), a science and technology-based approach to achieving a 45 percent reduction in nitrogen and phosphorus losses to Iowa’s waters. The strategy brings together both point sources, such as municipal wastewater treatment plants and industrial facilities, and nonpoint sources, including farm fields and urban stormwater runoff, to address these issues.

A total of 84 projects are located across the state to help implement and demonstrate water quality practices. This includes nine planning and development projects, 13 targeted watershed projects, 7 projects focused on expanding the use and innovative delivery of water quality practices and 55 urban water quality demonstration projects. More than 320 organizations are participating in these projects. The state awarded these 84 projects over $29.5 million in funding. Private partners and landowners invested more than $49 million to support these project efforts.

To learn more about the Department’s water quality efforts, visit

U.S. Soybeans Continue to China for Now Ahead of Requested Pause


Weekly Federal Grain Inspections Services’ (FGIS) data shows that U.S. shipments of soybeans inspected for export to China have perked higher in recent weeks as the calendar approaches July. Cumulative monthly shipments through June 20 have nearly reached May totals at 1.149 million tonnes. Inspections totaling nearly 530,000 tonnes in the week ending June 20 were the third highest for the 2019 calendar year behind 744,000 tonnes shipped the week ending February 21st and 558,000 tonnes shipped the week ending February 7.

It will be particularly interesting to see whether China continues to ship its current outstanding purchases, which according to Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) data totals 6 million tonnes as of June 13. According to news services, Chinese buyers had requested that outstanding sales of up to 2 million tonnes be delayed throughout the month of July so as to avoid congestion at ports. Should these current outstanding sales be delayed and push other shipments back, the result could push more volume into the upcoming 2019/20 domestic marketing year which begins in September 1.

Looking at recent history, monthly inspections totals have been running slightly ahead or previous years’ totals since May while shipments may compete with 2016 and 2017 levels as the current marketing year comes to a close. This data also suggests that it would be unlikely for China to make good on its current commitments as a complete halt to shipments in July would mean that almost 6 million tonnes of soybeans would need to be shipped in August.

Australian Demand for U.S. Pork Surging

Despite significant import restrictions, Australia is currently one of the fastest-growing markets for U.S. pork. Joel Haggard, U.S. Meat Export Federation senior vice president for the Asia Pacific, says some of the factors driving this tremendous growth includes Australia's rising per capita pork consumption and the country's shifting demographics.

Last year U.S. pork exports to Australia topped 80,000 metric tons (mt), valued at $227.3 million. The U.S. also gained significant market share, climbing from 40 to 46 percent of Australia's total pork imports.

Through April of this year, U.S. market share has climbed above 50% as exports to Australia increased 37% year-over-year in volume (37,979 mt) and 21% in value ($98.6 million).

Haggard notes that this impressive growth has been achieved despite the fact that U.S. pork must be cooked before entering the Australian marketplace, so demand is driven by U.S. raw material destined for further processing and for processed U.S. pork products.

EPA Proposes Renewable Volume Obligations for 2020 on Track to Meet Statutory Deadline

Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler issued a proposed rule under the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) program that would set the minimum amount of renewable fuels that must be supplied to the market in calendar year 2020, as well as the biomass-based diesel volume standard for calendar year 2021. This puts EPA on target to publish the final RFS Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) on time for the third consecutive year. This is in contrast to the previous administration, which frequently failed to release their RVOs by the date intended by Congress.

“Unlike the previous administration, we have consistently issued the annual renewable volume obligations rule on time, which is critically important to America’s farmers and all stakeholders impacted by the Renewable Fuel Standard program,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “We are on track to meet the deadline on time for the third year in a row and continue to provide greater regulatory certainty to farmers and refiners across the country.”

Some key elements of today’s action:
-    “Conventional” renewable fuel volumes, primarily met by corn ethanol, would be maintained at the implied 15-billion gallon target set by Congress.
-    EPA is proposing an advanced biofuel volume requirement for 2020 of 5.04 billion gallons, which is 0.12 billion gallons higher than the advanced biofuel volume requirement for 2019.
-    The cellulosic biofuel volume requirement of 0.54 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons for 2020 is based on our production projection which is 0.12 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons higher than the cellulosic biofuel volume finalized for 2019.
-    We are proposing to maintain the biomass-based diesel (BBD) volume for 2021 at 2.43 billion gallons.

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set annual RFS volumes of biofuels that must be used for transportation fuel for four categories of biofuels: total, advanced, cellulosic, and biomass-based diesel. EPA is using the tools provided by Congress to adjust the standards below the statutory targets based on current market realities. EPA implements the RFS program in consultation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy.

For more information on today’s announcement, go to:

Iowa Corn Farmers Disappointed EPA Fails to Account for Small Refinery Waivers in Proposed RVO Rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today the proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) for the 2020 conventional biofuels requirement at the statutory level of 15 billion gallons under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). However, the EPA’s actions today mean very little if they continue destroy ethanol demand through the use of Small Refinery Exemptions (SRE).

“We are discouraged by the EPA’s decision to not uphold the integrity of the RFS and account for its heavy usage of the Small Refinery Exemption process as required by law,” said Curt Mether, President of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and a farmer from Logan, Iowa. “Farmers are facing a tough economic environment, and the waivers from the EPA are degrading the top priority for Iowa’s corn farmers while impacting our bottom line.”

The EPA has handed out an unprecedented number of exemptions to small refineries across the country, effectively destroying more than 2.7 billion gallons of ethanol demand resulting in the destruction of nearly 1 billion bushels of corn demand. Farmers expect the EPA to uphold the RFS as President Trump promised to do.

“The damage created by the EPA through SREs undermines the RFS and destroys markets for Iowa’s corn farmers. We need President Trump to keep the EPA in alignment with his promises on ethanol,” stated Mether. “ICGA thanks Secretary Perdue and his team at USDA for their continued support and work to ensure the voices of corn farmers are being heard.”

Secretary Naig Urges Reform to Small Refinery Exemptions

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a proposed rule under the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) program that would set the minimum amount of renewable fuels that must be supplied to the market in calendar year 2020, as well as the biomass-based diesel volume standard for calendar year 2021. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig issued the following statement in response.

“Biofuels are key to reducing our dependence on foreign oil and our carbon footprint. Supporting the renewable fuels industry also supports American farmers who are hurting from a late planting season and ongoing trade uncertainties. I believe the EPA needs to recognize the industry’s growth potential and increase the ethanol and biodiesel blending targets accordingly. We must also reform the Small Refinery Exemption that continues to undermine demand.”

With 43 ethanol refineries capable of producing over 4.5 billion gallons annually — including 34 million gallons of annual cellulosic ethanol production capacity — and 11 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce nearly 400 million gallons annually, Iowa leads the nation in renewable fuels production.

NBB Slams EPA's Proposal to Flatline 2020 RFS Volumes

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) today criticized the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed rule for the 2020 Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) and 2021 Biomass-based Diesel Volume, saying it undermines market growth for biodiesel and renewable diesel. The agency's proposed advanced biofuel volume of 5.04 billion gallons provides no additional market growth for biomass-based diesel. Similarly, the proposal to set the 2021 biomass-based diesel volume at 2.43 billion gallons -- the same as the 2020 volume -- flatlines growth for the industry. EPA's proposal could actually reduce market space for biodiesel and renewable diesel compared to this year, because it does not account for small refinery exemptions.

"EPA's proposed rule would turn the RFS program on its head. It is likely to reduce America's use of cleaner, lower-carbon biodiesel and renewable diesel for transportation over the next several years, encouraging more petroleum use," said Kurt Kovarik, NBB's Vice President of Federal Affairs.

"The proposal sends a chilling signal to America's biodiesel and renewable diesel producers of EPA's intent to limit market growth for cleaner fuels. EPA appears to have simply repeated the previous biomass-based diesel volume of 2.43 billion gallons for 2021 without analyzing our industry's ability to achieve higher volumes," Kovarik continued.

"Worse, EPA refuses to reconcile its RFS rules with its small refinery exemption handout spree," Kovarik added. "EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler asserts that by law he must grant RFS hardship exemptions to every refiner that asks. Yet in the proposed rule, EPA claims it can't possibly predict whether oil refineries will once again take advantage of EPA's open spigot on these handouts. We know that Administrator Wheeler's public statements and EPA's calculation of small refinery exemptions in the annual volumes can't both be true."

EPA's calculation of the 2020 annual percentage standards uses 0 as the number of gallons of diesel and gasoline produced by exempt small refineries. For 2015, 2016 and 2017, EPA exempted nearly 28 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel produced by small refineries, without accounting for them in the RFS program. Those exemptions reduced demand for biodiesel and renewable diesel by hundreds of millions of gallons. According to University of Illinois Professor Scott Irwin, the demand destruction for biodiesel and renewable diesel could reach 2.45 billion gallons over the next few years causing a $7.7 billion economic loss for the biodiesel industry.

Kovarik continued, "Even one small refinery exemption has the potential to put a biodiesel plant out of business, impacting hundreds of jobs in the surrounding community. Consider a so-called small refinery such as Exxon's in Billings, Montana, which reportedly received an RFS hardship exemption. It can process more than 60,000 barrels of oil each day -- producing 1.9 million gallons of gasoline and diesel every day and 712 million gallons every year. The annual RFS obligations for that fuel would provide a market for more than 17 million gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel for the year. There are dozens of biodiesel producers who produce less than that on an annual basis and who could be put out of business."

Are EPA’s Proposed RFS ‘Obligations’ - Actually Just Suggestions?

By neglecting to prospectively reallocate small refinery exemptions and blatantly ignoring a court order to restore improperly waived gallons, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed 2020 renewable volume obligations (RVOs) completely betrays President Trump’s commitment to uphold the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

 “As long as EPA continues to dole out compliance exemptions to oil refiners without reallocating the lost volume, the agency may as well start referring to the annual RFS levels as ‘renewable volume suggestions’ rather than ‘renewable volume obligations,’” said Geoff Cooper, RFA’s President and CEO. “It is a complete misnomer to call these blending volumes ‘obligations’ when EPA’s small refinery bailouts have essentially transformed the RFS into a voluntary program for nearly one-third of the nation’s oil refineries.”

In its announcement today, EPA has proposed a total renewable fuel volume of 20.04 billion gallons, of which 5.04 billion gallons are advanced biofuel, including 540 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel. That leaves, on paper, a 15-billion-gallon requirement for conventional renewable fuels like corn ethanol, unchanged from 2019.

Most notably, EPA failed to prospectively account for any expected small refinery exemptions in the 2020 proposal, even though it is almost a foregone conclusion at this point that the Agency will continue to grant more exemptions.

“Congress gave EPA the direction and tools necessary to ensure that the statutory RFS volumes are enforced, and that includes prospectively reallocating exempted volumes to non-exempt parties. Instead, EPA has chosen to continue its demand destruction campaign that has been crippling to both ethanol producers and the farmers who supply our industry. Enough is enough.”

EPA approved 54 exemptions for 2016 and 2017 and an additional 38 requests for 2018 exemptions are pending. Not a single exemption request has been denied by EPA since 2015. The exemptions effectively lowered the total RFS requirement for 2017 by 1.82 billion gallons and cut the 2016 requirement by nearly 800 million gallons.

Making matters worse, EPA’s proposal continues to flout the D.C. Circuit Court’s 2017 order requiring the Agency to restore 500 million gallons of renewable fuel obligations that it inappropriately and illegally waived from the 2016 RVO. Unbelievably, the Agency is proposing to snub the court’s ruling by refusing to restore the 500 million gallons remanded volume.

“EPA’s stubborn refusal to obey a court order to restore lost demand is yet another kick in the teeth to U.S. further demand destruction for renewable fuel producers and farmers already facing the worst market conditions in a generation. EPA’s suggestion that following the court’s directive would place an ‘additional burden’ on obligated parties is an insult and an affront to the farmers and ethanol producers who trusted this administration would follow the law. The RFS wasn’t intended to make oil refiners comfortable; it was intended to change the status quo by guaranteeing renewable fuels would have access to a marketplace otherwise closed to competition. Yet, EPA appears to be selling out to oil refiners—again—at the expense of rural America. The court found in favor of renewable fuel producers in 2017 because it was clear our industry had been harmed by EPA’s illegal use of a general waiver—now EPA is doubling down on that harm to the ethanol industry and farmers.”

Cooper said today’s proposal undermines the pledge President Trump made to farmers and renewable fuel producers that his administration would enforce the statutory RFS volumes. “By failing to prospectively reallocate, failing to commit to a more judicious and restrained approach to refinery waivers, and failing to follow a court’s order to restore lost demand, EPA is blatantly undercutting President Trump’s commitment to ethanol, which he restated less than a month ago when he visited the Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy ethanol plant. We urge the President to resolve the disconnect between the oval office and EPA and get the RFS back on track.”

ACE CEO reaction to EPA’s proposed 2020 RVOs

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings issued the following statement on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for the 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS):

“While EPA says it is proposing to maintain the 15-billion-gallon conventional biofuel blending target for 2020, refinery exemptions without reallocation of waived volumes have effectively reduced the RFS by more than 2 billion gallons below statutory volumes. President Trump asked EPA to remedy this issue following his trip to Iowa a few weeks ago and this proposal is a missed opportunity to reallocate the 2.61 billion gallons waived through Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs).

“It’s also a missed opportunity to restore the 500-million-gallon shortfall the D.C. Circuit Court ordered EPA to handle following the Americans for Clean Energy et al v. EPA lawsuit, which recently resigned EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation William Wehrum told ACE members EPA intended to address in the 2020 proposed rule at our D.C. fly-in in April.

“EPA continues to disregard President Trump’s campaign promise that ‘the EPA should ensure that biofuel blend levels match the statutory level set by Congress under the RFS.’ Like the 2019 blending targets, the 2020 proposed RVOs reinforce our challenge to certain SREs in Court and petition for EPA to account for lost volumes of renewable fuel resulting from the unprecedented number of retroactive SREs that continue to be granted by the agency.

 “A strong rural economy depends upon growing the use of renewable fuels. We expect the administration to follow through on the promise that EPA and USDA will review the expanded use of refinery waivers and deliver a satisfactory remedy.”

EPA’s RFS Obligations Are Another Setback for American Farmers

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released its proposed renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for the year 2020. The proposal would set required biofuel use at 20.04 billion gallons next year, a marginal increase over this year’s 19.92 billion gallons. The difference is almost entirely attributable to an expansion of cellulosic biofuel, from 420 million gallons to 540 million gallons. The rule maintains the current 15 million gallon target for corn ethanol.

The RFS, which is intended to drive investments in American-grown biofuels, is an important mechanism for creating market opportunities for farmers, vitalizing rural economies, establishing energy independence, cutting fuel costs for consumers, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, the ongoing misappropriation of RFS small refinery exemptions to multinational corporations has eliminated demand for biofuels by 2.6 billion gallons, thus undermining the efficacy of the program.

National Farmers Union (NFU), a strong proponent of biofuels and the RFS, has repeatedly urged EPA to account for the damage caused by the waivers. NFU President Roger Johnson expressed disappointment that EPA failed not only to factor the lost demand into its proposed RVOs but to increase biofuel use at all.

“This is yet another setback in a long string of setbacks for homegrown biofuels and the American family farmers who grow them. At every turn, EPA and this administration have undermined the intent of RFS and destroyed demand for billions of gallons of ethanol. We were hopeful that the RVOs would finally offset the enormous losses we’ve seen over the past several years due to the rampant abuse of hardship waivers. Unfortunately, this announcement indicates that EPA has no intention of righting this particular wrong in a timely manner.

“Time and time again, President Trump has promised to support the biofuels industry and increase demand for American farm products. Family farmers have waited long enough for him to make good on those promises. It is long past time for his administration to do so by halting the misallocation of exemptions and accounting for the lost gallons in the finalized RVOs.”

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