February 1, 2015

Growth Energy and NCGA Respond to World Resource Institute Study

The World Resources Institute recently released a report that criticizes biofuels. Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis says the report repackages old, previously debunked food and fuel and Indirect Land Use Change myths in attempts to discredit an American success story. Buis says the criticism is based on the limited assumption that the U.S. and the rest of the world must choose between a cleaner, healthier environment resulting from renewable transportation fuels and an adequate, affordable food supply. Without the biofuels industry and its impact on the farm economy – he says the U.S. might be producing less food in order to control the expansion of surplus stocks and assistance payments to farmers. Buis says the WRI fails to note the U.S. has produced record corn crops for the past two-years and corn prices have fallen dramatically. It also fails to credit U.S. ethanol production results in co-products that displace the need for other livestock feed crops – reducing the net acreage for ethanol production to about 17.5-percent of total corn acreage – according to Buis. National Corn Growers Association Corn Board member Keith Alverson of South Dakota says ethanol is a very efficient energy source – representing a 40-percent net energy gain. Alverson says there is more than enough corn to meet demands for food, fuel, feed and fiber.

Buis says WRI is relying on the same analyses and falsehoods utilized by Big Oil that have already been proven to be incorrect. He says diversity in energy resources and a dramatic reduction in fossil fuel use is the best way to ensure the U.S. has the necessary energy resources while reducing the use of carbon intensive fuels that are a finite resource and a leading cause of climate change. Alverson says it’s time to put these arguments to rest and focus on continuing to grow American energy independence. The U.S. must embrace an all of the above energy strategy – Buis says – and biofuels play a critical role in ensuring such a strategy succeeds.


Shipping Hub in the Magic City

The Minot Area Development Corporation is attending the KMOT AG Expo at the North Dakota State Fair Center in Minot, and they’ve got opportunities on hand for the right agricultural company.

The Corporation has two slots available at the Port of North Dakota, which is currently under Phase 1 of the Port’s expansion.  We visited with Mia Camarata, Marketing Director for the MADC…


Camarata says The Port offers advantages for businesses that want to put down roots in the Minot area…


It’s a pretty prime location, too, not far down the road from the State Fair Center…


Officials estimate the Port Hub serves roughly a 250-mile area around Minot in the Bakken Region —including eastern Montana, northern South Dakota, northwestern Minnesota, southern Manitoba, and southeastern Saskatchewan.


American Soybean Association Submits Comments On Neonicotinoids

In comments submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today, the American Soybean Association (ASA) disagreed with the conclusions of a recent report from EPA that calls into question the efficacy of neonicotinoid seed treatments in soybean operations.

In the association’s comments, ASA President and Brownfield, Texas, farmer Wade Cowan pointed out that “…soybean producers use neonicotinoid seed treatments where they are needed and effective, and don’t use them where not.” Cowan also argued that recent research from Mississippi showing approximately 90 percent adoption of neonicotinoid seed treatments signals that the technology does work for farmers in certain areas.

In the comments, Cowan noted that neonicotinoid seed treatment use is tailored to a very specific set of circumstances, and in those settings, that particular technology is critical, “Farmers balance the efficacy of different treatments based on their individual farms, and experience shows that farmers who purchase seed treatment for soybeans do so because it reduces or eliminates the need for application of additional inputs after the soybean seedling has emerged,” he said. “Seed treatments both protect the soybeans from insects in the soil after planting as well as protecting the seedlings as they emerge. A below-ground insect infestation has no rescue options except replanting, and in the northern growing regions, replanting is not often an option.”

“EPA must not allow political pressure to lead to restrictions on crop protection tools,” concluded Cowan. “We have appreciated EPA’s science-based decision-making in evaluating crop protection products, particularly as they are wrongly singled out as the cause of pollinator decline. We urge EPA to maintain its commitment to science in evaluating crop protection tools.”

A full transcript of ASA’s comments can be downloaded here.