A Lump of Coal

After a long year of challenges and setbacks, the holiday season suddenly turned much brighter for agriculture. The House passed USMCA and the Senate is expected to do the same. A deal with China seems closer than at anytime during the past year. Congress finally restored the biodiesel tax credit giving that industry some much needed certainty. However just when the ag stocking seemed to be overflowing with good things the Trump administration decided to put on its Grinch costume. Instead of honoring its earlier agreement on the RFS and small refinery exemptions, the Administration chose instead to stay with a policy it repeatedly said it would change. By letting EPA continue to grant refinery exemptions and not reallocate lost gallons the RFS will continue to be undermined. It seems strange that heading into an election year that President Trump would turn his back to a key part of his base. Perhaps he feels the trade and tax news will be enough to keep farmers’ support. Maybe he looks at his opposition and doesn’t see anyone he thinks farmers will find to be a better choice for them. After all it worked for him in the last election. Once again when it comes to the EPA and the RFS it looks to be another year of the fox guarding the henhouse. While much of agriculture can enjoy some much needed holiday hope for the new year those in the biofuels industry will try to figure out what to do with this lump of coal.