Sen. Grassley Hopes Trump Biofuels Plan Coming Soon

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Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) believes President Trump is getting tired of dealing with the biofuels small refinery waiver issue and he expects a plan will be announced soon.

During a call with reporters, Sen. Grassley said the biofuel industry demands are very simple. “We want 15 billion gallons to be 15 billion gallons…so that means basically you can waive all you want to waive for small refineries, just make sure we get 15 billion gallons.”

Grassley talked about meeting with President Trump last week along with other Midwest lawmakers to discuss a fix for the problems that an additional 31 small refinery waivers have caused for the biofuels industry. Grassley believes EPA is getting details of a plan on paper but he won’t “cheer it until he sees it.”

Reports this week indicate the administration proposal currently being hammered out would increase the proposed 2020 renewable volume obligation under the Renewable Fuel Standard from its current 20.04 billion gallons to 22.386 billion gallons to include a 500 million gallon boost for D5 advanced biofuel, a 500 million gallon boost for conventional biofuel and an adjustment of over 1.3 billion gallons to account for SREs already approved.

Listen to Grassley answer reporters’ questions about the issue.
Sen. Grassley press call 9-17-19

Audio, Biodiesel, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Farmer-Owned Iowa Ethanol Plant Idled

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Siouxland Energy Cooperative has idled production at its ethanol production facility in Sioux Center, Iowa.

The Board decided to halt production due to the Administration’s recent grant of small-refinery exemptions (SREs) to many large oil refineries, which has undermined the Renewable Fuel Standard and reduced ethanol demand by 4 billion gallons.

Kelly Nieuwenhuis, President of the Board, said: “The Administration’s actions unfairly benefit the oil industry at the expense of our local farmers and, if not addressed soon, will impact the livelihoods of many. We look forward to the Administration properly addressing these issues, so that Siouxland Energy can resume ethanol production and its purchase of corn from local farmers, and generally contribute to the local and global economy.”

This is the second plant closing in Iowa. The first was Plymouth Energy in Merrill.

Ethanol, Ethanol News

RFA CEO Says Saudi Attack Shows Need for Ethanol

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Drone attacks on Saturday in Saudi Arabia that knocked out more than 5 percent of global oil supply and caused a major spike in oil prices on Monday spotlight the need for real energy security by diversification of the liquid fuel supply, according to Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper.

“The crude oil and gasoline price spikes following the attacks on Saudi Arabia show once again that the Unites States cannot simply frack its way to energy independence,” said Cooper. “Even with growth in domestic oil production, $18 billion flowed out of the U.S. economy to Saudi Arabia last year in return for 330 million barrels of petroleum. What the oil industry doesn’t want you to know is that the United States imported 2.8 billion barrels of crude oil last year, equivalent to 45 percent of the oil processed by U.S. refineries.”

“Diversification of our liquid fuel supply is the only way to truly insulate American consumers from the volatility and price shocks that plague the global petroleum market,” Cooper continued. “The good news is we have a solution right here in America’s farm fields and rural communities. Our nation’s ethanol industry produced more than 380 million barrels of lower-cost, cleaner-burning renewable fuel last year—more barrels than we imported from Saudi Arabia.”

President Donald Trump approved the release of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve in response to the attacks, which are being blamed on Iran. It is being called the worst disruption to world supplies on record.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, gas, Oil, Price, RFA

GROWMARK Urges Congress to Ratify USMCA

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Because GROWMARK is a farmer-owned cooperative, its priorities reflect the interests of its farmer members, and right now that number one priority is trade in general and the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) in particular.

“Having the assurance of the United States Mexico Canada trade agreement passed will be an ultimate priority, hopefully it won’t go much past October,” said Chuck Spencer, GROWMARK/FS Executive Director of Government Relations. “We obviously need to make sure that we do whatever we can to keep the farm economy moving in a very positive direction.”

Spencer says it’s been a rough year for agriculture and getting USMCA passed sooner rather than later will help. He also says that it is more important to work on USMCA than China right now because it is most achievable.

In this interview, Spencer talks about other key issues for agriculture in Congress, including rural broadband internet access and renewing the biodiesel tax incentive.

Interview with Chuck Spencer, GROWMARK government relations

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Ethanol Production Holding On

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U.S. ethanol production continues to stay above one million barrels per day on average this year, but just barely.

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Sept. 6, ethanol production averaged 1.023 million barrels per day (b/d)— equivalent to 42.97 million gallons daily. Output expanded by 10,000 b/d, or 1.0%, from the previous week and was 0.3% above the same week last year. However, the four-week average ethanol production rate slowed 0.6% to 1.024 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.70 billion gallons. This was the lowest level since April and was 3.6% below the average at the same time last year.

RFA notes that daily ethanol production as a percentage of daily gasoline demand decreased to 10.43%. In addition, ethanol stocks dropped 5.5% to 22.5 million barrels, reflecting an eleven-week low and 1.7% below the same week last year.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

USDA Lowers Corn Use for Ethanol

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The September World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates out Thursday from USDA reduced the outlook for U.S. corn production and for the amount of corn used to produce ethanol.

This month’s 2019/20 U.S. corn outlook is for reduced production, lower corn used for ethanol, and slightly higher ending stocks. Corn production is forecast at 13.799 billion bushels, down 102 million from last month on a lower yield forecast. Corn supplies are down from last month, as a smaller crop more than offsets larger beginning stocks due to lower estimated exports and corn used for ethanol for 2018/19. Corn used for ethanol for 2019/20 is lowered 25 million bushels.With use falling more than supply, corn ending stocks are up 9 million bushels from last month. The season-average corn price received by producers is unchanged at $3.60 per bushel.

corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News, USDA

Farmers for Free Trade Rally for USMCA

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Farmers for Free Trade brought its #MotorcadeForTrade to Washington D.C. Thursday to highlight the importance of ag trade with Canada and Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) that Congress will consider to upgrade NAFTA.

Members of Congress and farm leaders discussed how USMCA provides farmers with new market access while maintaining a zero-tariff platform, and stressed the need for Congressional leaders move forward with consideration of the agreement without further delay.

Among those who spoke were House Agriculture Committee Chair Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Ranking member Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX); U.S. Dairy Export Council CEO Tom Vilsack, AFBF president Zippy Duvall, and National Association of Wheat Growers president Ben Scholz.

Listen to Rep. Peterson kick off the rally here:
Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) at USMCA Rally

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EPA Officially Ditches the #WOTUS Rule

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Agricultural organizations are celebrating the official repeal of a rule that they have been fighting since 2015 – Waters of the United States, better known as WOTUS.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Department of the Army Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James announced that the agencies are repealing the rule and “recodifying the longstanding and familiar regulatory text that existed prior to the 2015 Rule—ending a regulatory patchwork that required implementing two competing Clean Water Act regulations, which has created regulatory uncertainty across the United States.”

“Today’s Step 1 action fulfills a key promise of President Trump and sets the stage for Step 2 – a new WOTUS definition that will provide greater regulatory certainty for farmers, landowners, home builders, and developers nationwide,” said Administrator Wheeler.

Listen to Wheeler’s announcement:
EPA Administrator announces WOTUS repeal

Happy to be on hand for the announcement was American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall who said the WOTUS issue and AFBF’s “Ditch the Rule” campaign generated more interest among member than any ever before.

Listen to Duvall’s comments:
AFBF president Zippy Duvall comments on WOTUS repeal

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Corn Growers Support E15 in Court Motion

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The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) this week filed a motion in support of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the final rule allowing for year-round sales of E15, opposing an effort by the oil industry to challenge the rule. If successful, the oil industry’s lawsuit would overturn the E15 rule.

NCGA and its farmer members have been long-time advocates of removing the unnecessary and outdated barrier to year-round E15. Removing that barrier took several years to accomplish, but our persistence paid off. With that barrier gone, more retailers are coming off the fence to offer consumers more fuel choice that saves drivers money and lowers emissions. Monday’s action was a continuation of NCGA efforts to increase corn grind by expanding the sales of higher ethanol blends. NCGA will be joining efforts with other ethanol advocates as the legal process continues.

corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News, NCGA

Biodiesel Helps Grow Clean Energy Economy

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An Iowa biodiesel plant manager told a Congressional panel this week that small biodiesel producers are important components of the clean energy economy and deserve the support of stable policies.

Western Dubuque Biodiesel General Manager Tom Brooks, a member of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), testified at a hearing on “Growing the Clean Energy Economy” before the House Small Business Committee Subcommittee on Rural Development, Agriculture, Trade, and Entrepreneurship, chaired by Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-IA).

Brooks informed the Subcommittee that the industry’s growth over the past decade-and-a-half was supported by successful policies such as the biodiesel tax incentive and the Renewable Fuel Standard. However, instability in those federal policies is forcing small businesses to reduce investments and shutter production facilities.

“It’s ironic that EPA has shown such concern for the economic hardships facing small petroleum refineries,” Brooks stated. “The small refinery exemptions the agency is granting to every refiner that asks are simply shifting the hardship to even smaller biodiesel producers — small businesses like mine.”

Listen to his testimony here:
Western Dubuque Biodiesel General Manager Tom Brooks

Also on Tuesday, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and 33 of its members sent a letter to President Trump asking that he save small biodiesel producers harmed by his administration’s small refinery exemptions. The letter indicates that more than 200 million gallons of U.S. biodiesel production capacity has been idled as a result of policy instability.

“Every small refinery waiver issued by the Environmental Protection Agency has the potential to put a U.S. biodiesel producer out of business,” NBB writes in the letter to President Trump. “We anticipate that additional facilities will close over the next several months if you do not take quick action to restore RFS volumes for biodiesel and renewable diesel.”

The letter highlights additional policy headwinds that are harming the biodiesel industry, including the U.S. Department of Commerce’s recent proposal to virtually eliminate trade protections against heavily subsidized biodiesel imports.

Audio, Biodiesel, NBB