Last week’s ruling by the California Air Resources Board on a low carbon fuel standard that penalizes corn ethanol on the basis of indirect land use has mobilized corn growers to get the facts out about the environmental impact of the nation’s largest crop.
“It’s a little known fact that we are growing five times as much corn as our grandfathers did in the 1930s on 20 percent less land,” says Mark Lambert, director of the Corn Farmers Coalition (CFC), a recently-formed alliance of the National Corn Growers Association and 10 state corn associations.
CFC is working on getting facts like that out to policy makers on the state and national level as the indirect land use issue gains traction in determining the use of renewable fuels like ethanol, especially as the EPA must take that into consideration when implementing the new Renewable Fuels Standard. National Corn Growers Association first vice president Darrin Ihnen says, “Let’s not make critical decisions like this without all the facts at hand and without a fair comparison of what it takes to make a gallon of gas to a gallon of ethanol.”
The CFC is providing input to EPA on both the RFS and increasing the ethanol blend rate to 15 percent. “All we ask is that they consider the facts,” Lambert says.