RFA Concerned About Loss of USDA Reports

Cindy Zimmerman

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is urging USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) to reconsider its plan announced last week to discontinue all County Estimates for Crops and Livestock beginning with the 2024 production year.

“With the rapid emergence of state and federal climate policies that will compel ethanol producers to carefully track certain feedstock characteristics, the availability of robust county-level data has never been more important,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper in a letter to NASS Acting Administrator Joseph Parsons.

In particular, with several federal agencies working to develop a version of the GREET life cycle analysis model that will be used to estimate sustainable aviation fuel emissions, the availability of granular, county-level data is crucial. Cooper writes, “It is anticipated that climate-smart farming practices will be recognized in this version of GREET. Moreover, some expect that county-level, or even farm-specific, carbon intensity scoring could be allowed under the IRA tax credit programs at some point in the future. For the USDA to discontinue reporting of high-resolution, annual crop yield data at a time when those data are needed for incorporation into the GREET model array and/or for use in the verification of farm-specific estimates would be regrettable.”

“NASS data will be relied upon in new and important ways as climate-smart farming practices are adopted,” said Cooper.

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