(Posted Thu. Aug 22nd, 2019)
The impact of the Trump Administration’s recent granting of 31 refinery waivers to big oil is quickly being felt across the countryside, compounding farmer’s concerns about crop conditions, markets, and trade.
In the last 12 months, 15 ethanol plants have been shuttered or idled, including POET’s Cloverdale facility which specifically cited the most recent waivers as the cause. Given this reduced demand, it is likely more closings will follow.
Recent press reports indicate the President is, rightly, rethinking this action and NCGA is continuing to work with members of his administration and ethanol advocates in Congress. This includes sharing solutions that would significantly boost corn demand.
President Trump’s actions on ethanol have cost 2,700 rural jobs and lost demand for more than 300 million bushels of corn as a result of the ethanol plant closures and slowing production. Since 2018, the 85 RFS exemptions granted to big oil refineries have totaled 4.04 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel.
Redistributing and accounting for these waived gallons in the upcoming RVO rulemaking is just one step the Administration can take today, and farmers are encouraged to submit comments to the EPA on this issue. Farmers can also send a message directly to President Trump.
Farmers are facing a sixth consecutive year of depressed income and commodity prices and ongoing trade tariffs and negotiations show no sign of a resolution. Farmers are losing patience. They need a win and the President needs to remember his promises to America’s farmers.