November 20, 2017

Trump Appoints Thykeson as State Executive Director for FSA in ND

The Trump Administration recently appointed Brad Thykeson as the new State Executive Director (SED) for the USDA North Dakota Farm Service Agency (FSA). Thykeson will join the North Dakota FSA team on Monday, Nov. 27.

Thykeson, of Portland, is an owner and operator of his family farming operation in Barnes and Steele counties and has been farming for over 30 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in business education and math from Mayville State College and previously taught and coached with the May-Port CG school district in Mayville. Thykeson has served as chairman of the North Dakota Grain Growers and served on the National Wheat Growers board and the American Farm Bureau Wheat Advisory committee.

The Farm Service Agency serves farmers, ranchers and agricultural partners through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs. The agency offers farmers a strong safety net through the administration of farm commodity and disaster programs. FSA continues to conserve natural resources and also provides credit to agricultural producers who are unable to receive private, commercial credit, including special emphasis on beginning, underserved and women farmers and ranchers.

Under the direction of Secretary Sonny Perdue, the USDA will always be facts-based and data-driven, with a decision-making mindset that is customer-focused. Secretary Perdue leads the USDA with four guiding principles: to maximize the ability of American agriculture to create jobs, sell foods and fiber, and feed and clothe the world; to prioritize customer service for the taxpayers; to ensure that our food supply is safe and secure; and to maintain good stewardship of the natural resources that provide us with our miraculous bounty. And understanding that we live in a global economy where trade is of top importance, Secretary Perdue has pledged to be an unapologetic advocate for American agriculture.

As SED, Thykeson will use his leadership experience to oversee FSA programs in a customer-focused manner to ensure a safe, affordable, abundant and nutritious food supply for consumers.

EPA Proposal on RVO’s Due by Month’s End under the RFS, POET LLC Chairman and CEO is Optimistic

The White House Office of Management and Budget is reviewing the U.S. EPA’s final rule to set 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) renewable volume requirements (RVOs), along with the 2019 RVO for biomass-based diesel.

The OMB review marks a final step before the final rule is released to the public.

POET, LLC Chairman and CEO Jeff Broin is optimistic the EPA will meet its deadline at the end of the month.

 

As Broin points out – the higher the RVO is for starch-based ethanol, the more demand there’s going to be for commodities.

Under RFS statute, the EPA is required to issue a final rule establishing 2018 RVOs by November 30th.

The EPA first released its proposal to set 2018 RVOs and the 2019 RVO for biomass-based diesel on July 5.

The proposal calls for 19.24 billion gallons of total renewable fuel, including 238 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel, 2.1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel and 4.24 billion gallons of advanced biofuel. The 2.1 billion gallon biomass-based diesel requirement for 2018 was finalized last year. For 2019, the new proposal calls for the biomass-based diesel RVO to be maintained at 2.1 billion gallons.

 

Biodiesel Leadership Weighs In With President Trump on RFS, Calls out Contradictions in Refiners’ Arguments

Today the executive leadership of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) sent a letter to President Trump regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In the letter, the NBB’s governing board members thank the president for his leadership and support of the RFS program, explain the industry’s capacity to produce biodiesel and highlight some of the contradictions made by the refining industry.

On the contradictions by some in the refining industry:

“We also understand that some refiners are continuing to complain loudly about the RFS, about RIN prices and about what they see as the adverse impacts on their businesses. Yet strong Q3 refiner earnings reports seem to directly contradict those concerns. For example, PBF Energy, whose executives had earlier made strong statements about the potential negative impact of RIN prices on the company’s earnings, just-reported Q3 revenue of $5.5 billion—a whopping 22 percent increase compared to the same period in 2016. The executives’ prior statements were clearly overstated. “It is also important to know that many of the refinery owners who are begging for Congress to provide relief by changing or killing the RFS were fully aware of this law when they purchased their companies and when the RFS was completely factored into their purchase prices. It is not as if the 10-year-old RFS law constitutes some big surprise. Other companies in this space have invested in blending and distribution infrastructure or employed other compliance strategies to minimize their costs.”

On the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) July proposal:

“What is equally important to understand is that the base numbers contained in EPA’s original, July proposal—4.24 billion gallons for advanced biofuels and 2.1 billion gallons for biomass-based diesel—are themselves so low that, if finalized, they will halt the growth of the biomass-based diesel industry. The 4.24-billion-gallon number is a reduction from the previous year’s 4.28 billion gallons, which sends a starkly negative signal to the industry as a whole. “Similarly, the 2.1-billion-gallon volume for biomass-based diesel is a static number—the same as the previous year—again sending the wrong signal to an industry poised for robust, sustainable growth. The RFS program is fulfilled by both domestic and imported biodiesel, but the domestic industry alone can generate 2.6 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel right now. In other words, even if you excluded all imports, domestic producers alone are immediately ready to generate substantially more than the 2.1 billion-gallon volume in EPA’s July proposal.

The NBB’s governing board members reiterated their ask of at least 4.75 billion gallons for advanced biofuels for 2018 and at least 2.5 billion gallons for biomass-based diesel for 2019. The governing board includes members from a diverse group of states: Arkansas, California, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines without modification. It is the nation’s first domestically produced, commercially available advanced biofuel.  Biodiesel supports roughly 64,000 jobs across the United States. The National Biodiesel Board is the U.S. trade association representing the biodiesel and renewable diesel industries, including producers, feedstock suppliers and fuel distributors.

The full text of the letter is available below and online as a PDF here.