Nebraska Corn Board supports proposed ethanol legislation

LINCOLN, Neb. — The Nebraska Corn Board today praised the efforts of Nebraska Senators Mike Johanns and Ben Nelson for their support and co-sponsorship of the Ethanol Reform and Deficit Reduction Act introduced by Senators John Thune of South Dakota and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

“It is comforting to know that both of our Senators that represent both sides of the aisle understand and appreciate the importance of renewable alternative energy,” said Jon Holzfaster, past chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and member of the board of director’s of the National Corn Growers Association. Holzfaster is a corn and cattle producer from Paxton, Neb.

The legislation would end the current ethanol tax incentive on July 1 and replace it with a variable tax credit tied to the price of oil. It would also extend the small producer ethanol credit through 2014. The legislation is projected to result in $2.5 billion in revenues, and dedicate $1 billion of that to deficit reduction and $1.5 billion to ethanol infrastructure.

“This bill exhibits great leadership in finding the middle ground of sound budget policy and visionary support for the ethanol industry when it needs it, along with expanding the infrastructure for renewable fuels,” Holzfaster said. “We have been far too dependent on foreign crude oil and not aggressive enough on supporting all forms of renewable energy.”

Tim Scheer, a member of the Nebraska Corn Board who also serves on the National Corn Grower’s ethanol committee, also complimented Johanns and Nelson in recognizing the investment Nebraska has in ethanol production. Scheer is a farmer from St. Paul.

“Nebraska ranks third in the nation in corn production, second in ethanol production and second in producing distillers grains, a high energy feed for livestock. What’s great about distillers grains is the fact our cattle producers, which rank second in the nation for cattle on feed, can utilize more than 5 million tons of the high protein feed,” Scheer said.

He noted that the variable tax credit structure means the tax credit only kicks in when it is needed, providing no credit when oil prices are high and a limited credit when oil prices are low.

“Nebraska’s 24 ethanol plants play a huge role in jobs and rural economic development, plus they generate a significant amount of local, state and federal taxes,” Scheer said. “This bipartisan approach is innovative and forward-looking and will help ensure a stable supply of domestically-produced renewable energy into the future.”

The Nebraska Corn Board is a self-help program, funded and managed by Nebraska corn farmers. Producers invest in the program at a rate of 1/4 of a cent per bushel of corn sold. Nebraska corn checkoff funds are invested in programs of market development, research and education.

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