December 3, 2016

Biodiesel Leaders Take Jobs, Energy Security Message to D.C.

Nearly three dozen biodiesel leaders from Kansas to Rhode Island took to the halls of Congress this week to champion America’s Advanced Biofuel.

“We have a great message to share with our elected officials. Biodiesel is working today to support jobs, diversify our fuel options and support American energy security,” said National Biodiesel Board CEO, Donnell Rehagen. “We want our messages and our success story to be top of mind now and when any tax extenders or reform is considered.”

Biodiesel is a true American success and innovation story. The U.S. market has grown by nearly 2 billion gallons in the last ten years, bringing with it support for nearly 48,000 jobs and $1.9 billion in wages across the country.bio-board

“We want to do all we can to ensure our elected leaders know the decisions they make in D.C. make a difference in our back yards and our communities across the nation. Effective federal policy has helped level the playing field for our relatively new product. This is about so much more than a standard or tax code. It’s about real people, making a real difference to bring jobs and economic growth all while supporting clean air and renewable fuel options,” Rehagen explained.

The group was specifically championing a call to extend the biodiesel tax incentive and move it from a blender’s tax credit to a producer’s tax credit. The current blender’s credit is slated to expire December 31, 2016. Proposed legislation in the House and Senate (HR 5240, S 3188) has strong bi-partisan support and would adjust the credit to support domestic production over imports.

U.S. biodiesel producers have more than 1.5 billion gallons of unused production capacity that stands ready to be utilized under the right policy framework. Mobilizing that capacity would create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity.

Under the current “blender’s” structure of the incentive, foreign biodiesel imported to the U.S. and blended with petroleum diesel in the U.S. is eligible for the tax incentive. Increasingly, foreign biodiesel producers are taking advantage of the U.S. incentive by shipping their product here. In 2015 alone, some 670 million gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel were imported to the U.S., making up nearly a third of the U.S. market.

Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as soybean oil, recycled cooking oil, and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines. It is the first and only commercial-scale fuel produced across the U.S. to meet the EPA’s definition as an Advanced Biofuel – meaning the EPA has determined that biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent when compared with petroleum diesel. Americans used nearly 2.1 billion gallons of biodiesel last year.

NBB is the U.S. trade association representing the biodiesel and renewable diesel industries, including producers, feedstock suppliers, and fuel distributors.

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Wheat Growers to Hold Maximizing ROI Workshops

With many Dakota corn and soybean farmers reporting record yields this fall, Wheat Growers will hold a half-day producer workshop titled “Maximizing Return on Investment: Securing Yield Potential Throughout the Season.”

USDA is predicting the largest corn yield to date with a projection of 175.3 bushels per acre, and an equally strong soybean yield of 52.5 bushels per acre. In the Dakotas, many Wheat Growers members are reporting corn yields above 200 bushels per acre and soybean yields of 60 bushels per acre.Soybean Harvest

At the upcoming Maximizing Return on Investment workshops, Wheat Growers agronomists will provide in-depth insight into these record yields, beginning with a review of summer plot data. Other presentations will examine fertilizer and crop protection strategies that contributed to producing exceptional yield results.

The first Maximizing Return on Investment workshop will be held Tuesday, December 13, at the Bath Innovation Center. The workshop will be repeated on Friday, December 16, at the Kimball Agronomy Center. Both workshops will begin with registration at 9:30 a.m. and conclude at 2 p.m., with complimentary lunch served at noon.

Topics for the workshops will include planter efficiency, nutrient strategies, maximizing yields with herbicides and fungicides, a review of bio-stimulants and a showcase of results from the Wheat Growers’ MZB precision ag program.

For more information on the Maximizing Return on Investment workshops, visit wheatgrowers.com or contact your local Wheat Growers agronomist.

 

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Retail Food Prices Set For First Year Over Year Decline Since 1967

grocery-shelvesIts no surprise that farmers across the U.S. have suffered through low prices over the past year, but those price declines are now flowing through to grocery store shelves.  Annemarie Kuhns, a food price analyst with USDA’s Economic research service says they are looking for 2016 grocery prices to fall year over year for the first time since 1967:

Kuhns 2016 Food Prices

While lower commodities prices across the board all played a part, Kuhns says one of the biggest price declines came in eggs, as the industry recovered from the 2015 outbreak of Avian Influenza:

Kuhns on Avian Influenza

The unusual decline isn’t completely due to lower farm gate prices.  Lower energy prices and a much stronger U.S. dollar also come into play.  Because of that Kuhns says its possible we could see 2017 prices continue to decline. Right now, however, USDA is looking for a small increase of around 0.5%.  Still, there are items that will struggle:

Kuhns 2017 Prices

On the flip side, ERS is reporting the year over year decline in food prices is only true for retail grocery stores.  Forecasted prices for food away from home, like restaurants, saw an increase of 2.5 to 3.5% year over year.

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