Ag Industry Integral to America’s Future

Joanna SchroederAudio, Corn, Ethanol, Farm Progress Show

During a press conference hosted by Growth Energy, Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey stressed the importance of the ethanol industry to agriculture. Northey told the tale of how corn farmers were looking for a way to sell their excess corn back in the 80s and so they created the ethanol industry. And it worked. Last year, ethanol used 4 billion bushels of corn out of a total of 13 billion total bushels and many new companies and technologies have sprung up to support the industry’s growth, such as those companies offering corn farmers precision ag technologies.

But to keep the ag industry strong, the country must pass long-term energy policy that will support increased market access for ethanol. “It is vital that Congress and the EPA move forward and approve these needed long-term policy proposals,” Northey said. “It is important that we send a signal to the industry and investors that support structures that will remain in place and allow the industry to continue to advance and adopt new technologies including eventually cellulosic ethanol.”

The Green Jobs Waiver, or E15 waiver would do just this. It would help to open up the markets for more ethanol. But any decision on this front is still a ways a way. According to Tom Buis, the CEO of Growth Energy, the EPA and DOE will finish testing on 2007 and newer cars this month and 2004 and newer cars by the end of November. No one knows for sure how the EPA will rule, but there is widespread confidence that E15 will be approved.

Approving the extension of the ethanol tax credit is also important in sending the message to investors that this industry is here to stay.

Northey also stressed that success of the ethanol industry has allowed the success of other companies as well, many who are participating at this year’s Farm Progress Show. Therefore, Northey concluded, it is not only important for many states’ economies and the agricultural industry for ethanol to succeed, but it is ultimately important for all forms of alternative fuels.

You can listen to the Growth Energy press conference here. [wpaudio url=”″ text=”Growth Energy Press Conference During Farm Progress Show”]

Farm Progress Photo Album coverage of the Farm Progress Show is sponsored by: Ag Leader Technology.