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HomeIndustry NewsOp-Ed: From Tom Buis, CEO of American Carbon Alliance

Op-Ed: From Tom Buis, CEO of American Carbon Alliance

This op-ed was penned by Tom Buis, CEO of American Carbon Alliance

The farm economy is currently in a downward spiral with prices for agricultural commodities hovering at or below the cost of production in many areas. This decline is exacerbated by reduced exports, declining domestic market demand, and burgeoning excess supplies. The repercussions extend beyond farms, impacting equipment manufacturers who are forced to lay off workers. How do we turn it around?

There are promising opportunities within reach, particularly in the realm of biofuels. Higher blends of ethanol for consumers and sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) represent untapped market potentials. But to be able to produce for these markets we must take steps to lower the carbon index for the production of ethanol from corn. The easiest and fastest way to do that is by capturing the carbon at the ethanol plant and sequestering it and finally transporting it by pipeline to areas of the country with the geological formations to safely sequester it forever. 

Projects such as the Summit Carbon Solutions Pipeline, currently under consideration, propose a comprehensive solution to this challenge. These pipelines have a proven track record of reliability, safety, and cost-effectiveness, providing a means to efficiently transport carbon emissions from ethanol plants. Establishing a robust pipeline infrastructure is crucial for farmers to regain profitability by facilitating access to markets, reducing transportation costs, and enhancing overall competitiveness.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) presents another avenue for environmental stewardship and economic growth. The existing demand for low-carbon ethanol, both domestically and internationally, could revolutionize the biofuel industry, offering farmers an opportunity to contribute to emissions reduction while accessing lucrative markets. A recent study highlighted the potential economic impact of SAF on the Midwest, projecting significant job creation, income generation, and farm revenue enhancement.

Without the establishment of new markets like SAF, the current overproduction of corn could lead to reduced acreage, declining farm revenue, and diminished income. Therefore, promoting higher blends, particularly in biofuels, is crucial for achieving energy sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint of transportation.

The most direct way for farmers to open the SAF market is through carbon capture pipelines. 

Creating new markets, embracing SAF and carbon capture pipelines, while also promoting higher blends is the holistic approach needed to address the challenges faced by American farmers. It is time to rally behind these initiatives to ensure the long-term sustainability and resilience of our agriculture sector.

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