Waiting For Details


As the temperatures heat up so do many issues facing agriculture and the honeymoon with the new Biden administration may be coming to an end.  Already concerned about proposed tax changes to pay for expensive government spending plans, farmers and ranchers have concerns over plans to rewrite the Waters of the US rule and how the Biden administration chooses to implement the Renewable Fuels Standard.  As agriculture digs in to defend long standing positions on these issues, they also wait for details on how the administration plans to implement changes.  So far the Biden administration has been long on concepts and short on details but already even members of his own party have raised concerns over some of the President’s plans.  Several Democrats, including the chairman of the House Agriculture committee, have expressed reservations about some of the tax changes that have been discussed as having a negative impact on agriculture.  Now after 4 years of work to change the controversial 2015 WOTUS rule, agriculture and several other groups, are faced with another potential battle.  It remains to be seen what a new WOTUS rule might look like but proposed changes bring uncertainty and the likelihood of more legal challenges. Meanwhile after sending signals of supporting the RFS and the biofuels industry and as we await a Supreme Court ruling, there are rumors of the Biden administration granting some kind of relief for oil refineries from their RFS obligations.  After 4 years of the Trump administration trying to please both the biofuels and oil industries and failing to do so, it appears the Biden administration may be trying to do the same.  Regardless of which party is in power it seems our federal government refuses to fully support the biofuels industry despite offering the environmental benefits that this administration says it is seeking.  Meanwhile we wait to see what is in an infrastructure bill, what will be done to address cattle market concerns and packing capacity not to mention labor shortages, transportation bottlenecks and growing inflation concerns. So far the Biden administration’s attempt to resolve issues has been to write more checks however that can’t last forever and doesn’t fix all problems.  In fact it often creates more problems in the long run.  It’s shaping up to be a long, hot summer in more ways than one.