Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw recently testified before the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy. The hearing focused on USDA Rural Development Programs and their economic impact across the country. Shaw said during his testimony that properly supporting renewable fuels programs are vital to the well-being of rural America.
“I think it can be fairly stated that no other effort to improve rural economies made the impact that renewable fuels did,” Shaw testified. “Then, in late 2013, the Obama Administration proposed Renewable Fuel Standard levels far below statutory levels. The economic fallout was predictable and painful. The last two years have seen a dramatic downturn in the health of rural America. Corn prices plummeted, land values fell, farm income plunged, and agribusinesses laid off workers by the thousands.”
Shaw highlighted several Energy Title programs under the Farm Bill, including the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, the Renewable Energy for America Program and others, that have provided strong returns on investment. “However, the effectiveness of these programs is reduced by a lack of consistent and timely funding.”
Shaw also asked the Senate leaders to support other programs outside the Farm Bill that can boost rural economies. “The Renewable Fuel Standard, the USDA’s Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership, and equalizing vapor pressure treatment for E10 and E15 are all additional programs you can support that are vital to the well-being of rural America.”