Nebraska Corn Farmers’ Frustration with EPA Continues Following Biofuels Requirement Release

Howells-Dodge7LINCOLN, Neb. – After a very lengthy deferment, Nebraska corn farmers are frustrated with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent release of the proposed 2015 and 2016 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) figures. Once again the EPA reveals their flawed tactics in implementing the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by proposing to cut the corn ethanol obligation. EPA proposes to adjust the conventional biofuel requirements in the RFS passed by Congress downward by more than 1.5 billion gallons.

“It is disappointing to see the methodology behind this long overdue proposal. EPA is continuing to play into the hands of the oil industry,” said Tim Scheer, farmer from St. Paul, Nebraska and Chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “Family farmers have responded to ethanol demand by using technology to produce larger crops and grow more with less. Yet, the EPA still chose to side with the oil industry and decrease the RFS levels, ignoring the fact that American farmers can easily supply enough corn to meet the RFS requirements previously set forth.”

The long-awaited 2015 and 2016 RFS proposals increase the overall use of biofuels over the two-year period; however, the levels are below what Congress had mandated in the original legislation. The proposed RVO level for conventional ethanol in 2015 is 13.4 billion gallons and 14.0 billion gallons for 2016. Nevertheless, congressional statue dictates that RVO levels for both 2015 and 2016 should be at 15 billion gallons.

These proposed figures represent nearly 1 billion bushels in lost corn demand and 8.5 million tons of distillers grains (DG) that the livestock industry will not have access to.

“All the work and investment that Nebraska corn and livestock farmers have put into building the ethanol industry is at risk. We’ve already seen corn prices drift at or below the cost of production and cutting the use of corn for ethanol could drive prices even lower. This decision could also idle capacity and restrict access to the distillers grain market for the livestock sector,” Scheer added.

The RFS is one of our nation’s most successful energy programs and is working exactly as designed. It has reduced greenhouse gas emissions, decreased our reliance on foreign oil, lowered gasoline prices for consumers, increased economic stability in rural American and spurred innovation in advanced and cellulosic biofuels.

“It might be expected that farmers would be frustrated about this, but every American should be upset as well,” said Larry Mussack, farmer from Decatur, Nebraska and President of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association. “The RFS is federal policy that has been very beneficial to our country, and there is no reason we should not stay on course to increase the diversity of our nation’s transportation fuel supply and help keep down costs at the pump.”

Mussack also added, “American farmers and consumers were promised the opportunity to utilize an American-made, cleaner, renewable alternative to oil. This proposal not only ignores that agreement, but diminishes the cost-saving options that ethanol provides in the marketplace for consumers.”

Once the proposal has been posted to the Federal Register, comments will be accepted with the EPA planning to issue the final volume requirements in November, 2015.

The Nebraska Corn Board is funded and managed by Nebraska corn farmers. Producers invest in the program at a rate of 1/2 of a cent per bushel of corn sold. Nebraska corn checkoff funds are invested in programs of market development, research, promotion and education.

The Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA) is a grassroots commodity organization that works to enhance the profitability of corn producers. NeCGA has more than 2,400 dues paying members in Nebraska. NeCGA is affiliated with the National Corn Growers Association, which has more than 36,000 dues paying members nationwide.

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