The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to announce final rules for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) this November after months of delay and push back from the agriculture and biofuels industries. As it currently stands, the volume levels set for 2015 and 2016 are lower than the law mandates. As a result, a new white paper finds that American farmers and ranchers ares set to see lower net incomes, a decline of up to 26 percent, is the current rules stay in place. The white paper was released by National Farmers Union (NFU) and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), using recent USDA data. The paper argues, that farmers are in limbo due to the uncertainty and will see lower profits.
“That devastating forecast is worse than originally projected, and it represents the lowest farm income levels in nearly a decade, and it could get worse,” says the paper.
During a press conference to launch the paper, NCGA President Chip Bowling of Maryland said, “There are factors other than the RFS. (But) it has changed the basis, the price received for our corn, it has changed the way we’re buying equipment … most of that is due to the uncertainty in the Renewable Fuel Standard.”
EPA is expected to release the final rule at the end of November and NFU president Roger Johnson says they have heard nothing to indicate they will change that time line. “They agreed to that in the court order,” said Johnson. “It’s hard to say what to expect from them.”
Johnson stressed that the so-called blend wall should not be included in any determination for volume requirements under the RFS. “When the RFS was put in place it was never intended that it would stop at ten percent,” he said. “It was always the intent that it would go way beyond ten percent.”
Bowling says corn growers have responded to the demand for more corn to produce ethanol and another record crop is expected this year. “We’re still expecting yields of 162 bushels per acre at minimum,” said Bowling. “We have carry over that’s growing and without a strong Renewable Fuel Standard demand for corn is going to decrease.”
Listen to the announcement from NCGA and NFU here: [wpaudio url=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/zimmcomm/rfs-ncga-nfu.mp3″ text=”Press call on RFS/farm income white paper”]