“In agriculture, when it comes to energy, we want reliable, economically competitive sources,” says GROWMARK government affairs director Chuck Spencer. “As a country, what we are looking for is energy security and that’s going to come from a mix of both domestic production and allies like Canada.”
When it comes to domestically-produced ethanol, Spencer says the expiration of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) at the end of this year provides new opportunities for the industry. “The domestic ethanol industry has been preparing for this moment for some time,” he said. “The energy table is rather large and there’s plenty of chairs at the table, particularly biofuels of all types. We’re going to see our fuel sources continue to diversify and in that diversity is going to come strength.”
Since the GROWMARK system is a cooperative that represents farmers throughout the Midwest and Ontario, Spencer says they are looking forward to the challenge of agriculture being able to supply more of our energy needs. “We’re all looking forward to more corn and soybean acres being planted. Farmers are responding to market signals to meet the demand for food products, renewable products, fiber and proteins for the livestock industry,” he said.
Spencer notes that the Renewable Fuels Standard is the corner stone of domestic renewable fuel policy and it should continue. “Considering that biodiesel is an advanced biofuel and ethanol can certainly become one as well, we have continued promise as far as our ability to produce renewable fuels and what that means to local economies,” he added.
Spencer also discusses what lies ahead in 2012 with the need to come up with a new Farm Bill during an election year with a huge federal deficit.
Listen to my conversation with Chuck Spencer here: Chuck Spencer Interview