December 1, 2015

Industry Reaction to RVO’s from EPA

Growth Energy and its members are pleased to see that the President and the Environmental Protection Agency have recognized the need to move the renewable fuel industry past the so-called blend wall for the sake of America’s climate, energy security and rural economy. While this rule still relies on a flawed methodology that sets renewable fuel volumes below the statutory levels enacted by Congress, it is an important improvement from the proposed rule, and moves us closer to getting America’s most effective climate policy back on track and providing certainty for biofuels in the marketplace.

The National Biodiesel Board applauded the Obama administration Monday for raising biodiesel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“This decision means we will displace billions of gallons of petroleum diesel in the coming years with clean-burning biodiesel. That means less pollution, more American jobs, and more competition that is sorely lacking in the fuels market,” said NBB CEO Joe Jobe. “It is a good rule. It may not be all we had hoped for but it will go a long way toward getting the U.S. biodiesel industry growing again and reducing our dangerous dependence on fossil fuels.”

“I want to thank President Obama, Administrator McCarthy and Secretary Vilsack for supporting growth in the program and for their commitment to biodiesel,” Jobe added. “We have seen three years of damaging delays, but the Administration took a strong step forward today that should put biodiesel and the RFS on a more stable course in the years to come.”

Made from a diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement used in existing diesel engines. According to the EPA, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 57 percent to 86 percent compared with petroleum diesel, qualifying it as an Advanced Biofuel under the RFS.

Under the new RFS rule, Biomass-based Diesel volumes would grow to 1.9 billion gallons in 2016 and 2 billion gallons in 2017. The Biomass-based Diesel category – a diesel subset of the overall Advanced Biofuel category – is made up mostly of biodiesel but also includes renewable diesel, another diesel alternative made from the same feedstocks using a different technology.

The new standards reflect modest but meaningful growth over recent years when the U.S. market has hovered around 1.8 billion gallons annually.

Maryland farmer Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association, issued a statement in response to today’s announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of the renewable volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard.
“America’s corn farmers are proud to grow a cleaner burning, renewable fuel source for America and the world. In July, we asked the Environmental Protection Agency to restore the 2014-16 corn ethanol renewable volume obligation to comply with the Renewable Fuel Standard as passed by Congress and signed into law. While we are pleased to see the EPA take a step forward and revise its original proposal, the fact remains that any reduction in the statutory amount will have a negative impact on our economy, our energy security, and the environment. It is unfortunate that Big Oil’s campaign of misinformation continues to carry weight in the court of public opinion, and in this decision. The Renewable Fuel Standard has been one of America’s most successful energy policies ever. Because of it, our economy is stronger, we are more energy independent, and our air is cleaner. We should be strengthening our commitment to renewable fuels, not backing down.
“In light of the EPA’s decision, we are evaluating our options. We will fight to protect the rights of farmers and consumers and hold the EPA accountable.”


Save the Honeybee! #NAFB15

Honeybee and pollinator experts agree that colony collapse disorder threatens to disrupt the human food chain, with a third of the foods consumed by Americans dependent on pollinators.

Researchers suspect that neonicotinoid pesticides may play some role in reported die-offs…But they don’t know much.

Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto are encouraging nonprofits, landowners and governments to plant more flowers and other plants that bees need to feed on.  Their representatives are speaking at beekeepers conferences and visiting universities.

Jerry Hayes is the Bee Health Lead for Monsanto.  He visited with farm broadcasters at the recent Trade Talk event in Kansas City about the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder for honeybees.

Monsanto Jerry Hayes

Honeybee colony losses in the U.S. the past five years have been especially acute, with reported annual losses of 30 to 45 percent, according to a study authored by university researchers.

The EPA is working on new risk assessments for neonics, while chemical companies are working on new bee-saving products like biological and chemical agents to fight mites and parasites.




Secretary Vilsack Responds to Lower Farm Income Forecast

Following updated farm income forecast numbers for 2015, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack made the following statement:

“As one growing season comes to an end and another lies on the horizon, USDA continues to seek out new and innovative ways to expand opportunity for America’s farming families and support markets that will boost farm income. Roughly one in three American farm products are exported, but there is significant and as yet untapped opportunity in markets in Asia and Europe. By the end of the year, I will have met with key leaders in those regions to promote the benefits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and further negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, as well as expanded access in China. Expanded trade will help to drive higher commodity prices, additional farm income and agribusiness jobs that ultimately generate more cash flow in rural economies and support local businesses on main street.

“Thanks to its ability to remain competitive through thick and thin, American agriculture continues to enjoy some of the strongest years in our nation’s history, supporting and creating good-paying American jobs for millions, and positioning the United States as a reliable supplier of high-quality goods for domestic and foreign markets alike. Overall, today’s projections provide a snapshot of a rural America that continues to remain innovative, stable and resilient in the aftermath of the worst animal disease outbreak in our nation’s history and as the western United States unloosens itself from the grip of historic drought. For example, today’s projections indicate a rise in specialty crop receipts in 2015, while final farm income for 2014 was revised upward by $1.9 billion since August and $13.5 billion since February. Today’s estimates also indicate that new 2014 Farm Bill safety net programs are working as intended and helping producers protect their operations from changes in the marketplace.

USDA and the Obama Administration will continue to stand with America’s farming families, small businesses and rural communities as they build a brighter future for our country on the land that they love.”

Full Forecast: