Ethanol was highlighted during a Farm Bill listening session in South Dakota this week.
American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Executive Vice President Brian Jennings made comments about the importance of the homegrown fuel to the economy in general rural areas in particular during the session hosted by Representative Kristi Noem (R-SD) on Thursday.
“The ethanol industry recognizes the need for farmers and ranchers to succeed and we support a robust commodity title in the Farm Bill which helps mitigate the risks of price volatility and weather-related crop loss,” said Jennings. “We strongly support the energy title included in version of the farm bill enacted by the Senate Agriculture Committee, which contains $800 million in mandatory funding for critical initiatives such as the Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP) and Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). Specifically, USDA has been very resourceful and proactive in the last year by using a modest share of REAP funds, about $4.5 million, to help install nearly 300 blender pumps across 30 states.”
Jennings emphasized two other legislative priorities important to the ethanol industry, E15 and the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). He noted a study from Iowa State University’s Center for Agriculture and Rural Development last week found that ethanol supplies reduced wholesale gasoline prices by $1.09 nationwide last year and by $1.69 in the Midwest, saving a typical Midwest household about $2600 annually in 2011.
“While not farm bill-specific, E15 and the RFS don’t cost U.S. taxpayers a dime and contribute to making an affordable and clean source of high-octane fuel available to consumers,” said Jennings. “Unfortunately, several pieces of legislation have been introduced in the U.S. House to delay the implementation of E15 and repeal the RFS, and we ask Congresswoman Noem to help resist these efforts,” Jennings continued.
The U.S. Senate is expected to consider the Farm Bill in June and the House of Representatives will consider the legislation later this year.